Graphomotor skills: what it is and how to help children develop it

Writing is one of the most important advances of mankind of all time. It is not in vain that it allows us to transmit our knowledge and different data through time and space, to reproduce our thoughts and make them reach others with precision. But the ability to read and write does not appear out of nowhere.

It is something that we have to learn throughout life. As for writing, it requires, in addition to the ability to symbolize, the ability to perform a series of precise movements; i.e. graphomotor skills.

    What are graphomotor skills?

    Graphomotricity is understood as the set of manual movements required and necessary to be able to write. These movements would be included in the development of fine motor skills, the ability to move the hands and fingers in a coordinated fashion. Thus, the graphomotor is a skill that requires a high level of precision and control, Which should be acquired gradually with lifelong practice.

    It is a capacity that requires the development and coordination of motor and perceptual aspects. Graphomotricity would have its beginning in the first strokes of the child, and it is necessary that little by little the child manages to master the space and the instruments. it is a must let the little one learn the pliers movements first and grab smaller and smaller objects.

    The correct development of graphomotor skills also involves learning not only of graphic elements: differentiating between elements, having the ability to represent and being able to have an orientation with respect to directions are fundamental aspects in the development of the ability to writing.

    Over time, these processes are automated, allowing you to deepen and improve the level of finesse and precision required for correct writing.

      Development of this skill

      As we have said, graphomotor skills do not appear out of nowhere: they require complex learning through which each of us learns to master the movements necessary for writing.

      We could consider that the first attempts at graphic expression would begin around a year and a half, when the first scribbles usually start to appear. Rather, the child acts on impulse and with total uncontrollability, without hand-eye coordination and using the whole arm.

      Later, a little before the age of two, he began to use his elbow to kick (although still without coordinating the eye and hand) and to make circular scribbles. After that, little by little, the child will gradually increase the control of his wrist. and the strength of his hand, as well as following the movement of his hand with his eyes. The first independent traits begin to appear.

      From the age of three, we try to control the movement of the hand and coordinate it to make a aimed shot. The child is able to combine colors and can focus the movement so that it does not come off the paper, as well as try to identify something in the drawing. Around the age of four, a pre-schematic stage begins during which the child begins to draw a drawing that symbolizes a specific element to be represented. That is, he draws a specific element such as a house, a person or an animal, but executes them schematically.

      From this point until the age of six, we will learn to add detail to the previous elements. It would also enter a presyllabic phase, The illustrated drawings of lines that attempt to represent letters or numbers begin to differentiate.

      At the beginning, they are disorganized and separated from each other, but gradually they organize and align themselves so that their reading is possible (even if initially only the child himself would understand this. he means).

      After that, we enter a moment of syllabic writing, in which each spelling begins to represent a specific syllable or phoneme. Subsequently, as we improve the trait and the ability to symbolize, there is a stage of transition to alphabetic writing, in which each letter ends up corresponding to a phoneme. Over the years, the lettering will be improved and smaller and more precise spellings will be possible.

      How to boost graphomotor skills?

      Graphomotor skills are a fundamental skill for being able to write and draw, as well as helping to increase precision and manual ability to perform different tasks. It is therefore recommended try to strengthen it through different activities. Practicing calligraphy can help, but working in the graphomotor field not only involves this type of activity, but can also be approached from a more playful perspective.

      Stimulates playing behavior and the ability to drawNot only with colored pencils but also with elements such as paint or sand is essential. But the training of graphomotor skills not only involves painting and coloring, but also helps in improving all those activities that require a certain level of fine motor skills.

      Things like tying ties, construction sets, plasticine, making creases, cutting with scissors, or even throwing things they improve hand-eye coordination. If the child likes it, it is also useful to play a musical instrument (for example, a flute or a piano). Other games such as musical rhythm with palms, symbolic play and role play and imitation of people, animals and objects (for example, playing movies is usually useful and at the same time fun time) also improve skill. thus improve graphomotor skills.

      But it’s not just about doing things to the child, it’s about valuing them. For this, the support of the family is essential, the fact of participating actively in this learning and also to congratulate him on his achievements will allow the child to feel more secure and valued. In addition, sharing with him moments when these games and activities are perceived as something positive and enjoyable is fundamental and can strengthen the mother / father-daughter union in addition to improving the predisposition to writing and learning from it.

      Bibliographical references:

      • CCOO Education Federation of Andalusia. (2011). Graphomotor skills in early childhood education. Themes for education. Digital magazine for education professionals.
      • Marchesi, A and Coll, C. (1991). Psychological development and education. Madrid. Alliance.

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