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1 SPECIALIZED MAGAZINE “4 to 8” FOR KINDERGARTEN AND SUBGRADE TOPIC COLLECTION FOLDER WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ARCHIVE NUMBERS The way to writing Reading and writing in kindergarten and school Processes of written language acquisition Writing development Didactics for four- to eight-year-old children Fine motor skills and writing Playing with letters and words Working with learning environments and writing on the computer March 2006 Published by Kindergärtnerinnen Schwei

2 The way to writing Reading and writing in kindergarten and school Texts from archive numbers of the specialist journal “4 to 8” for kindergarten and lower grades Authors: Erich Hartmann, Dora Heimberg, Heidi Brunner, Walter Hartmann, Barbara Sörensen, Daniela Giuliani, Mirjam Wenger , Niklaus Nuspliger, Barbara Kochan, Elke Schröter Published by the Association of Kindergarten Teachers Switzerland Obstalden

3 Contents Theoretical Basics From Listening and Understanding to Reading and Writing 2 Erich Hartmann / 2003 / No.3, S.5 Milestones on the Way to Writing 4 Dora Heimberg / 2005 / No.1, S.5 Didactic Basics «Schinbeinbruch und eine Schedelbruch and another blood pressure »7 Heidi Brunner, Walter Hartmann, Barbara Sörensen / 2005 / No.1, p.14 Practice Fine motor exercises promote writing 11 Daniela Giuliani / 2005 / No. 5, p.8 Letter detectives on the road 13 Mirjam Wenger / 2005 / No. 5, p.10 On the train in the direction of written language 16 Niklaus Nuspliger / 2005 / No. 10, p.24 Learning to read and write on the computer 19 Barbara Kochan, Elke Schröter / 2005 / No. 5, p.13 “4 to 8” themed folder “The way to writing”, page 1

4 Theoretical Foundations The course for learning to read and write is set as early as preschool age. It is important that children recognize the meaning and function of sounds and how they relate to letters and words. This ability is closely related to the success of the written language acquisition. Erich Hartmann From listening and understanding to reading and writing Phonological awareness is part of language awareness and comprises various aspects: The ability to disregard the content of language and to turn to formal language features. The insight that words can be broken down into abstract building blocks such as syllable, rhyme and sound (phoneme). The ability to deal deliberately and in a controlled manner with such linguistic units that are smaller than words and have no meaning of their own (such as the syllable "pa" in parrot, which in itself means nothing). Phonological awareness is divided into syllable, rhyme and phoneme awareness. Syllable and rhyme awareness are referred to as early phonological awareness, as preschoolers can successfully handle syllables and rhyme. For example, you can recognize words with the same or different rhymes (B-ach, D-ach, Wald-Stamm) or structure words into syllables (Pa-pa-gei). The sound or phoneme awareness, on the other hand, is only rudimentarily developed in kindergarten children and school beginners. Exceptions are children who already have initial reading skills or whose awareness of sounds has been specially promoted. These are advantages for the written language acquisition in school. Syllables and rhymes, word pairs and sounds There are various possibilities to clarify the phonological awareness of preschool children: Segment syllables: Break words into syllables, often accompanied by clapping syllables: Auto Au-to Find rhyming words: Find your own rhyming words for given words: Tree Compare foam word pairs: decide whether a word pair rhymes or not: tree belly does not rhyme Sound analysis: break words down into individual phonetic units: arm a, r, m sound synthesis: combine separately given sounds of a word and name the target word: b - u - s Bus Packaged in a playful way, such tasks can also be used to promote the phonological awareness of children. This is the case, for example, with the demanding exercise “children's names”. This exercise is introduced with a dwarf: children's names are shown on cards. The dwarf gives a pearl for each sound of a name. In the sponsorship, the kindergarten child is supposed to play the dwarf, break down the names into individual sounds and give away the pearls. The alphabet as a crack nut In school, our children should learn the German writing system. You have to understand and apply the demanding alphabetical principle. This principle describes the fact that in our writing the smallest units of spoken language, the sounds, correspond to the smallest units of the written language, the letters. Successfully adopting this principle is an early milestone in literacy acquisition. In order to cope with this developmental step, the child must gain insight into the structure of words and become aware of the sounds. Sound awareness is therefore a key to «cracking» the alphabetical written code. Recognizing syllables and rhymes is also important for the acquisition of written language. At the start of school, children with poor language skills often show a deficit in their sound awareness, with a considerable risk of later difficulties in acquiring the written language. Without early support, such children quickly fall behind their comrades in school when it comes to learning to read. One training program and many questions The so-called Würzburg training program has also been making a name for itself in Switzerland for some time. It consists of six exercise sequences which, building on each other, aim to give preschool children an insight into the sound structure of language: 1. eavesdropping, 2. rhymes, 3. sentences and words, 4. syllables, 5. initials, 6. phonemes. The exercises are carried out in the kindergarten in daily, ten-minute sessions over six months by teachers in small groups. The Würzburg training was developed in several projects with German kindergarten children. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 2

5 Theoretical foundations tested and evaluated. According to this research, it has positive effects on written language acquisition in schools and contributes to the prevention of reading and spelling weaknesses. However, this training also raises questions that have not yet been fully discussed: Are exercises to prepare for the written language acquisition in kindergarten education desirable and practically feasible? Is the intended form of training suitable for all children, including those with language learning difficulties? How can you continue the promotion in the first grade? What kind of initial reading and language instruction would have to follow such preschool training? Dialect yes or no? With a view to Switzerland, the question arises whether the funding should be in the standard German language or in dialect. There is still no scientifically proven answer to this. Regula Blaser and Ulrich Preuss from Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Bern report on a kindergarten study in which a Swiss-German adaptation of the Würzburg training was tested and evaluated. This study shows less positive medium and long-term effects than the German research. Based on the Swiss study, it remains unclear whether the funding in dialect led to this deviating result. Therefore further studies are needed. It should be borne in mind that promoting sound awareness in the High German language can be a considerable difficulty, especially for Swiss children with poor language skills. In addition to language analytics, there are increased demands on vocabulary. In the case of linguistic children, this is often not developed in accordance with their age in their mother tongue. In order to avoid excessive demands, the optimal form of support must be weighed up individually. Despite its importance for the early acquisition of written language, the awareness of sounds is not an open sesame for the problem-free acquisition of literacy. There are no simple solutions to complex learning problems. A preschool promotion of sound awareness is only one component in the comprehensive prevention of reading and spelling difficulties. Dr. phil Erich Hartmann is head of the speech therapy department at the Curative Education Institute of the University of Freiburg / CH. Recognize sounds and form words while playing together. Note Hartmann Erich, Kessler Mark: Clarification procedures and intervention for preschool awareness. Sprachimpuls, Freiburg 2002, Fr The Swiss-German clarification procedure with six tests allows educational professionals (especially speech therapists) to diagnose and assess the phonological awareness of kindergarten children. The structured intervention contains nine development-oriented learning units with exercises on words, syllables, rhyme and phonemes and is ideal for the preventive support of children with disorders of speech and language development. The whole package consists of a manual, examination sheet, picture material, worksheets and CD-ROM and is recommended for preschool children (especially those at higher risk) with regard to the prevention of reading and spelling disorders (LRS). Further literature Blaser Regula, Preuss Ulrich, review of the possibilities of early detection and prevention of reading and spelling problems in a sample of Swiss children. In: Association of Dyslexia Switzerland: New hope for our children. Brütten, 2002, Küspert Petra, Schneider Wolfgang, listening, listening, learning. Würzburg training program to prepare for the acquisition of the written language. Göttingen, 1999 Photo: Christoph Schütz Collection folder “4 to 8” “The way to writing”, page 3

6 Theoretical Foundations Font development is a complex process that goes through various stages. The learning path leads from the scribble pictures to the symbols to the letters. An overview of the various phases in the development of the script. Dora Heimberg Milestones on the way to writing Diverse “mosaic stones” from different areas of development enable people to learn to write. A finely tuned interlocking of differentiated perception, motor, cognitive, emotional and creative basics influence the learning process of writing and writing itself. By submitting to the agreements on what signs mean, we create a relationship with ourselves, with you and with writing down to business. The learning path goes from scribbling to symbols. Far from writing, the baby begins the small movement of turning his head in the first few days after birth. Depending on his constitution, he raises and turns his head more or less shakily in the prone position. Until the movement is automated, the neck muscles are in conflict between tensing and letting go. It is one of the first controlled movements against gravity, which is extremely important for building balance, supporting reactions, and head and eye control. Six months later, the baby in the prone position can lift and stretch the legs, arms and hands up to the fingertips along with the head. He rocks with relish in this total extension and shows that he feels himself from head to toe. During the same period of time, the infant in the supine position discovers the front of the body, knees and feet by palpation. He pulls his toes up to his mouth with his hands. Closing the body in a circle is a significant development step for the construction of the body scheme. The child gets to know the structuring elements of directions and relationships pre-verbally in his body before he projects them onto the graphic plane years later. Open closed, straight curved, right left, up and down, crossed parallel, etc. are the directional and relational orders of the symbols. They are a collection of agreed signs that have their origin in the structure of the body. Scribbling and scribbling letters The toddler first holds the pen in its fist grip before it can hold it in a three-point grip due to the developing differentiation of the hands and fingers. After the "windshield wiper scribble", it reaches the level of scribbling in all directions and scribbling where it comes back to the same point over and over again. Almost unnoticed by the importance of writing, the child begins to combine the large arm movements with the fine finger movements. The typical "nests" are created. They are signs that the child is beginning to control his movements right down to the fingertips. This makes it possible to line up the small finger movements with the large, aligned arm movements. The first letters are written by moving the arms and fingers at the same time. I write The child understood that they can connect with their signs. In drawing and writing By about 20 months, the child is in the phase of scribbling windshield wipers. The almost two-year-old child is already scribbling in all directions. At the age of two years and three months, the so-called “nest pictures” are created. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 4

7 Theoretical Foundations The two and a half year old child drew a “car that drives”. The child wrote his first letter when he was almost three years old. Four months later, the letter consists of better controlled and more fluid forms. In development there is a phase during which the child names his signs afterwards. Only later does it decide what it wants to draw or write. It notices how it has to arrange lines and circles in order to create a tree, a person, a clock or a sun. In social exchange, in which the child's traces are properly observed, he or she develops the willingness to pay attention to tactile-kinesthetic, visual and auditory rules and to combine them. It can fall back on the experience that a certain movement gives a certain sign. Conversely, it knows how to move the pen in order to create this symbol. In a relaxed exchange with the caregiver, it begins to understand that a sign (grapheme) means a sound (phoneme). It understands that a sound has a certain sign. This child has all of the basics of Scripture. Important basics of writing Writing is a complex process that requires and at the same time promotes the development of a number of skills and abilities. It is the dialogue on the graphic level that is supported by the personal, appreciative and understanding conversation. Childlike learning and writing is shaped according to the tasks that it sets itself. It develops out of itself according to a certain plan (milestones). The details are shaped by the exchange with the environment. The child learns to be active holistically from a need. It wants to explore the environment and thus also the world of symbols. In a variety of ways, it learns individual abilities and skills in a varied and playful way, never in isolation, but embedded and enthusiastic in its actions. Tactile-kinesthetic perception: Balance control and body awareness are important for directional perception and spatial structuring. The posture and tone control of the whole body (proprioception) as well as the posture and tone control of the writing material (exteroception) are also prerequisites. Seen in this light, somersaulting, climbing or balancing backwards are just as much a part of learning to write as handling different materials. Fine motor skills: Since writing is one of the finest movements in addition to speaking, finger dexterity, “fingertip feeling” or tactile-kinaesthetic perception down to the fingertips and well-organized finger coordination are essential. It needs the tone adjustment for the fine tensing and letting go of the movement, and it needs the arm-finger coordination, the simultaneous movement of the arm and the fingertips. Since when writing, one hand holds the sheet of paper for support and orientation and the other hand moves, the relationship and independence of the hands must develop. The ability to cross the center line is necessary, for example, with the letters T, S, d (for left-handers with b). Line guidance and visual functions Line guidance includes control, positioning, aiming, switching and braking of the movement. The child moves the pen in different directions, tempos and sizes, with different pressure, permanent precision or precision to a point. The skills acquired in the first year of life to fix with the eyes close up and in the distance, to follow a moving object or part of the body with the eyes or to make “eye jumps” in all directions enable the visuomotor coordination and construction of the writing elements. Visuomotor coordination and writing elements The visuomotor coordination is part of skill. It is the finely coordinated topic folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 5, spatially, temporally and in terms of strength

8 Theoretical Foundations After six weeks of lessons, this first grader has solid foundations for the process of learning to write. Since there is still too little dexterity, he writes in capital letters so that he can feel better, he applies a lot of pressure. Tactile-aesthetic, auditory and visual perception difficulties impair the process of learning to write. Adjusted movement of the fingertips and eyes when writing. The dash is the shortest distance from one point to another. It requires clear starting and stopping of the movement and the jumping of the eyes.The line requires flowing movements of the arm, the fingers and the following movements of the eyes. The arch is created by continuously moving away and back again on one line. The circle is the movement around an imaginary center point back to the starting point. The loop includes the ability to cross over. The point is the most differentiated pressure movement of the fingertips and the most precise fixation with the eyes. Visual perception processing By acting or drawing, the child learns which movements lead to certain forms. It repeats them, looks at them and compares them. It also looks at the forms it has not produced and creates these symbols from a mixture of experience, expectation, anticipation of the movement (anticipation) and interest. A creative process of capturing and reproducing shapes, which sometimes only lasts a few seconds or a few drawn circles and sometimes takes longer and takes place in deep contemplation. At the beginning it is the simple shapes that are changed in the spatial position and put in relation to each other. By drawing relationships, the child learns to see relationships. By seeing relationships, it begins to create them on its own. Your own name becomes an issue. There are children who derive their name from the combination of seeing and hearing. Most of the time, the child's interest in letters or in their own name triggers a positive response from the caregivers, so that the child is shown the sequence of letters. It starts to copy the letters, sometimes in the wrong direction or in the wrong order. Noticeable in graphomotor performance Given the abundance of different fundamentals that are required for writing, it is not surprising that not all children reach the same level of development at the same time. External and internal causes are one reason why some children stand out in kindergarten and first grade. The external causes include the lack of opportunity to act roughly, fine and graphomotor according to the needs of the child. Failure to understand and devaluation of the playful, discovery activity and the scribble make the child insecure and slow them down. Internal causes include minimal cerebral movement disorders or weaknesses in tactile-kinesthetic, visual and auditory processing of perception, such as can occur in children with ADD, for example. Unclear handedness can also influence visuomotor coordination in such a way that the learning to write process is inhibited. There is a need for action Teachers in kindergarten and lower grades must call in curative education specialists if the child shows no interest in drawing and writing despite offers and opportunities. as soon as it picks up a pen, uses its posture to signal stress, reluctance and resistance and accordingly hastily produces a few lines or a few measly characters that almost disappear. Although he takes the pen in his hand, the lines remain cramped, shaky or extended despite practice. Has difficulty planning movements and reproducing shapes, does not recognize or cannot remember the order of sounds and characters. Can't decide on a writing hand before starting school. Clarification and targeted support give the child a chance to acquire the cultural technique of writing and, in the best case, enjoy their own traces. It is necessary to practice and automate the writing processes. Dora Heimberg is a lecturer and therapist for psychomotor skills with many years of practice in Spiez (BE). Literature learning. Manfred Spitzer, Spectrum Academic Publishing House, 2002 Building blocks of child development. Jean A. Ayres, Springerverlag, 1984 When Children Draw, Erika Meili-Schneebeli, Pro Juventute, 1993 Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 6

9 Didactic basics In the play and learning environment “Doctors' Practice”, children learn more about their bodies and the world of letters and words. The example from the Muristalden basic level in Bern illustrates the basic theoretical ideas of didactics for four to eight-year-old children. Heidi Brunner, Walter Hartmann, Barbara Sörensen «Broken shinbone and a Schedelbruch and another blood pressure» The further development of educational work for four- to eight-year-old children requires development-promoting, individualized teaching in mixed-age classes. A new teaching culture should develop from the play, learning and teaching cultures of kindergarten and lower grades, in which the children, as curious and interested learners, are encouraged to deal with their environment. Teachers accompany the children on their individual learning paths. What knowledge and what competencies do teachers at this level of education need to have? What are the essential building blocks of a new didactics for the basic level? What theoretical ideas about learning and teaching are they based on? The following post contains initial answers. We illustrate the basic theoretical ideas with descriptions of the playing and learning of four to eight-year-old children in the “Doctors Practice” learning environment at the Muristalden Bern basic level. Consultation hour with Doctor Luisa Leonie, the practice assistant, leafing through the file with a serious expression and very concentrated: "M N O P there, P-A-C-O, yes, you are registered with us." Short and busy she scribbled a few characters on the index card. Then Leonie sends the patient Paco into the waiting room. There he sits down comfortably, overlooks the range of newspapers, magazines, books and games, picks up the daily newspaper, leans back and delves into the reading. Not that he can actually read, he is only five years old, but he imitates the attitude of the newspaper reader with great experience: he seems to be familiar with the meaning, purpose and handling of the large-format sheets of paper. Doctor Luisa is still busy in the examination room. She records a medical history in words and pictures, puts it in the appropriate folder and writes the necessary prescription for the patient. Now she has time for the next patient. Doctor Luisa records a medical history in words and pictures. Creating stimulating learning environments The doctor's practice was a play and learning environment in which the children were encouraged to deal with the world of letters, words and texts according to their abilities, skills and learning preferences. In addition to dealing with the written language, the children also broadened their knowledge of their own bodies and gained a variety of social and communicative experiences in various roles and group compositions. When setting up the practice, special thought was given to the inexperienced readers and writers, which folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 7

10 Didactic basics not yet participate in the systematic teaching of reading and writing. The practice, which is set up as realistically as possible and equipped with various materials relevant to the acquisition of written language (card index boxes, magazines, anatomy volumes, empty drug boxes, writing utensils, stamps, table of letters, etc.) is intended to give children access to literacy. The offer combines action and play with the activities of reading and writing. The children should be able to build on their everyday experiences when they visit their doctor: The activities of writing and reading are part of the roles of doctors, patients and practice assistants. Initiating self-active, hands-on learning and understanding We assume that lessons for four to eight year old children focus on the activities of the learners. Constructivist approaches from teaching and learning research describe, explain and justify the course of such learning processes. We prefer a moderately constructivist approach in our discussions and reflections, which describes how learners build and expand their skills in authentic, appropriately complex learning environments. Learning takes place in problem-oriented learning situations: the children are active and perform the decisive tasks themselves; the learning situation offers a variety of suggestions and the teacher or other children support the learning children in achieving their goals. Diagnosing skills and accompanying learning paths Rahel plays the role of a doctor in practice. The children have the opportunity to write their function or their name on a name tag. Rahel would like to call herself a "senior physician". She already knows a few letters and can read the medical history of an accident patient on the prescription sheet. Photos: Hans Hofmann A younger practice assistant has created a scribble recipe. The diagnosis is still open and the examination has not yet been completed. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 8

11 Didactic basics The leg is broken and needs to be splinted and connected. Medicines can also be obtained from the doctor’s practice. first approaches. She knows the table of letters from “Lara and her friends”, but cannot use it. She really wants to write on her sign and tries for a long time to get ahead with the help of the letter table. Fortunately, the teacher observes her and offers her support as long as she is still highly motivated. With the help, Rahel manages to label the sign. Rahel discovered how to deal with the letter table, which she uses intensively from then on. The fact that the teacher supported Rahel in her work at this very moment was of central importance for the girl's learning process. Support diagnostic skills, knowledge of level models (e.g. "Dani's birthday") and trained observation skills are prerequisites for recognizing and understanding the course of learning processes. The insights gained form the basis for the development of further funding offers. Encourage the independent development of terms In order to understand and be able to participate in their environment, children depend on getting to know numerous terms. Children build up terms and knowledge structures every day in a variety of contexts of action and communication. Every concept formation is the achievement of the concept creator in her individual life situation. The conceptual knowledge of the individual children and the teacher is therefore never identical. Children are often instructed in the construction of terms, but they have to understand every step of the construction themselves and understand them on their own. Since no learning process starts at an abstract zero point, every learning to be initiated has to start from the singular world of the children. At the beginning of the lesson there is no transfer of knowledge by the teacher; at the beginning of the lesson there is knowledge, skills, abilities, knowledge, questions or products of the children. On the one hand, teachers explore and reflect on the child's knowledge as a starting point for understanding and support processes; on the other hand, they endeavor to further differentiate childish ideas. They lead the children to a largely conventional understanding of terms and thereby enable them to build up regular knowledge. The suggestion and support from the teacher is also central to promoting children's learning activities in connection with the development of terms and knowledge structures. Specifically prepared and support-oriented free tasks are ideal for building up concepts and knowledge: Children's ideas are reflected in drawings, free texts, performing games and conversations. These testimonies to children's understanding can be the starting point for further offers. Supporting the acquisition of metacognitive skills If children are given space to learn, they must also acquire skills in planning procedures, controlling learning processes, self-control and self-assessment. In the case of four to eight-year-old children, such skills cannot be assumed, but must be consciously promoted. This includes skills such as: listening carefully to what needs to be done; consciously choose an activity; plan an activity based on previous experience; thinking about an activity, thinking about what worked and why; Verbalize experiences. Even in five-year-old children there are differences in the development of metacognitive abilities and in the use of learning and problem-solving strategies. These differences affect the further learning path and learning success. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 9

12 Didactic basics Building blocks of a basic level didactics Develop learning and problem-solving strategies A large number of individual differences in learning performance can be traced back to the different use of learning and problem-solving strategies. Self-directed learning requires such skills and at the same time offers opportunities to develop them further. The prerequisite for this is that teachers are aware of the importance of such skills and know how to promote their development. The following courses of action are particularly important: asking the child to decide on certain goals and approaches; support in maintaining concentration; the joint search for the causes of obstacles and the finding of new ways to solve problems; the request to assess results and reflect on possible solutions. When children attribute success to their own abilities and effort, their willingness to make efforts and self-esteem increase. Many children need support in order to be able to experience the effects of their own efforts. Building blocks on the way to the goal The aim of our work is to differentiate and specify the building blocks in such a way that prospective teachers can understand them and put them into practice. There is already research work, theoretical considerations and practical experience for each of these building blocks. Bringing these together and expanding them into a differentiated basic level didactics is a project that will hopefully be pursued in an intensive exchange between those who do more practical work and those who do more research across canton and state borders. Heidi Brunner, lic. phil, is a lecturer in educational psychology in teacher training in Bern. Walter Hartmann is a lecturer in German Didactics and General Didactics at the ILLB Bern Marzili, Kindergarten / Lower School Department. Barbara Sörensen is an educational scientist, primary school teacher, kindergarten teacher and specialist advisor to the KgCH. Literature Inventing the font. Hans Brügelmann, Erika Brinkmann, Libelle Verlag, Lengwil-Oberhofen, 1998 Elementary training for children with learning difficulties. Andrea Emmer et al, Neuweid, Luchterhand, 2000 Dani's birthday. Reading levels. An instrument for determining and promoting reading development. Albin Niedermann, Martin Sassenroth, Zug, Klett, 2002 Lara and her friends. Reading by writing A2K, Jürgen Reichen, Hamburg, Heinevetter, 2002 Psychology of learning. Norbert M. Seel, Munich, Reinhardt, 2000 “4 to 8” themed folder “The way to writing”, page 10

13 Practice With a wide range of experience, experimentation and playing fields, fine motor skills can be specifically promoted. Exercises that also include the basic senses and gross motor skills are important. An introduction and practical examples. Daniela Giuliani Fine motor exercises promote writing In motor development, fine motor skills form the top of the development pyramid: It is the finest differentiation of movement, perception and control processes. The basis of motor development is the basic motor skills (reflexes, postural reactions). It is closely related to fundamental processing processes in the brain. Incoming stimuli are processed and answered using motor impulses. Perception, which is understood as the process of gaining information from environmental and body stimuli, is also inextricably linked with motor skills. In the development of motor skills, the three basic senses self-perception (proprioceptive perception), balance (vestibular perception) and the sense of touch (tactile perception) are of particular importance. Self-awareness is an essential prerequisite for the regulation of muscle tension and joint position and their changes. It contributes to the development of the body schema (process of perceiving one's own body) and is involved in personality-building components such as self-confidence, self-confidence and self-control. The equilibrium system enables the body to perceive its position in space and thus to maintain its posture. In addition, the information from the equilibrium system is required for spatial orientation and the development of the body scheme. The sense of touch is functional from birth and remains important throughout life. In practice, it can hardly be separated from the sense of movement, which is why we usually speak of tactile-kinaesthetic perception, which means the totality of tactile, position and movement sensations. The functionality of these sensory systems enables the development of body scheme and body awareness, which are prerequisites for the development of spatial orientation and handedness, and culminate in the differentiation of fine motor skills, taking into account the sense of sight and hearing.Gripping development and manual dexterity In the gripping development, there is a differentiation between gripping with the entire palm of the hand and finely adjusted gripping with the thumb and index finger. The development of manual dexterity shows the close connection between perception and movement. The hand is both a sense organ (sense of touch) and an executive organ (movement). The intensive exploratory activity of the hands conveys information about the immediately tangible and tangible world. Feeling, experiencing and experimenting with objects leads from grasping, grasping and grasping to the first concepts. The development of manual dexterity can only be recorded when it is embedded in the overall development, since the development of gross motor skills and manual dexterity are closely linked during the entire period of infancy and toddlerhood. In terms of manual dexterity, three components seem to be the prerequisite for a later high level of skill: accuracy, speed and force adaptation. These influence each other, and their differentiation depends on the ability to coordinate the locomotor organs under the control of perception. For the development of manual dexterity, however, exact visual information is also necessary. The visual system is involved in controlling the success of almost all movements. Fine motor skills in practice For the promotion of fine motor skills, it is important to offer a diverse field of experience, experimentation and play. It is important not to lose sight of the close connection between gross and fine motor skills. Treasure hunt Material: modeling clay, semi-precious stones, decorative glass stones, coins Hide stones in a lump of modeling clay, the child should find the treasures by pressing and working with the modeling clay. Funding area: tactile perception, strengthening of the fingers Treasure digger Material: Large vessel with cherry stones, sand, beans, lentils, small figures, coins, small stones Search for objects with both hands. In order to intensify the tactile perception, place a cloth over the vessel so that the visual inspection is no longer necessary. Funding area: Tactile perception, finger dexterity Topic folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 11

14 Practice newspaper ball fight Material: ruler, newspaper, adhesive tape Divide the playing field in half with adhesive tape, mark a throwing line on each side. Use the ruler to shred the newspaper page (1/8 page), both players or teams should prepare a pile. For an agreed period of time, paper balls are crumpled with one hand (if possible, keep your hand in the air) and an attempt is made to throw them on the opponent's side. It is allowed to alternate between both hands. Funding range: strength, mobility of fingers Gyroscope Material: Various gyroscopes Set different gyroscopes in motion, keep all gyroscopes moving. Funding area: Differentiation and coordination of the individual fingers, force adjustment Escape artist Material: Rubber bands of different thicknesses Twist the rubber band and put it around several fingers, free yourself from it without using the other hand. Support area: Mobility of fingers, practicing independent single finger movements Wolverine Material: Incised tennis ball ("mouth"), flea buttons or decorative stones Open the ball mouth by pressing on the side with one hand and feed with the other hand. Funding area: strengthening of the fingers in the holding hand, coordination of the hands, thumb-index finger grip of the feeding hand Rubber slingshot Material: beer mats, cardboard tubes, adhesive tape, various rubber bands Mark the starting line with adhesive tape, set up beer mats, cardboard tubes as target objects. Place a rubber band over one thumb, use the thumb and forefinger of the other hand to stretch the rubber band and prick it against target objects. Funding area: hand-hand coordination, eye-hand coordination, force adjustment, target accuracy Thread play Material: Tear-resistant cord, thread play (available in toy stores) new figure emerges. Funding area: mobility of fingers, hand and arm area, hand, hand and eye-hand coordination, memory, movement planning Finger brushes Material: finger brushes in different sizes that can be attached to the individual fingers On individual fingers, on all fingers, Attach finger brushes to both hands and create different lines and patterns. Funding area: finger mobility, independence and coordination of the fingers Marble game Material: marbles, shoebox with cut-out gates and various scores Determine the distance from the shoebox, guide the marbles with your thumb and forefinger and try to hit one of the gates (write down your score). Funding area: thumb-index finger grip, target accuracy, force adjustment, hand-eye coordination Magnetic balls Material: Magnetic balls, adhesive tape Mark a square with adhesive tape and set the distance to the game. Bring as many marbles as possible into the field with the thumb and forefinger grip and as many marbles as possible "stick together" in the field. Funding area: thumb-index finger grip, force adjustment, eye-hand coordination, accuracy, cooperation of the teammates table football Material: empty plastic bottles, cotton ball, adhesive tape Mark the playing field and goals with adhesive tape, try to blow the cotton ball into the opponent's goal by squeezing the bottle. Funding area: finger mobility, strengthening of the muscles Daniela Giuliani is a psychomotor therapist astp and lecturer at the psychomotor training in Basel. Photos: Daniela Giuliani themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 12

15 Practice The first-class letter detectives immerse themselves in the world of letters with binoculars they have created themselves. Diverse and practical ideas show how beginners can find access to letters. Mirjam Wenger Letter detectives on the move The statement "Our broom looks like an inverted T" encouraged the children in my first grade to open their eyes to hidden letters in the classroom. Suddenly they discovered letter shapes everywhere they had never noticed. "The door latch is like an L, as is the table leg." "If I only look at part of the window frame, I discover an H." In my class we call this game letter detectives. The children learn to consciously pay attention to letter shapes. This is important to me when learning letters. When the children have stretched their feelers for letters and words in their living environment during the process of learning to write and read, the result is often a lively and intensive examination of the learning content. As a teacher, I can support this process with suitable exercises and games. The ideas described can be implemented regardless of the reading material used. I do some of the exercises after we have learned a new letter. I choose others as soon as the children know all the letters of the alphabet in order to deepen and secure their knowledge of the letters. Many ideas can be built into a letter workshop as items. An important goal is that the children learn to perceive the letters in a creative and playful way and through different senses. I attribute great importance to personal initiative. Letters around us All the children in my first grade used two toilet rolls to create colored binoculars that were imaginatively decorated with letters. It is a suitable instrument to draw the children's attention consciously to the world of letters and offers a variety of play options that can be varied depending on the level of knowledge of the class. The children decide which letter they want to capture with the binoculars. The task at hand is: What does an object that begins with an M look like? Who can name, record or write down such items? It is a challenge to find objects for every letter that has already been introduced, and later even for the entire alphabet. As letter detectives, the children use binoculars to discover hidden letters. Or they choose an object or a person through their binoculars and formulate a riddle: “I see something in the classroom that is black and square. If I write the word down, it starts with W. " “I see a girl through my binoculars. His name starts with S. » Sometimes, before school starts, I attach to some counter- The letter detectives keep records of their discoveries. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 13

16 Practice Different letter figures live in these two houses. if there was a note in the classroom with a letter: Who can find the letter with his binoculars? Is it the first letter of the word? Which objects are correct and which are not? Over time, the children take on this task and label objects in the classroom themselves. The children are always motivated and imaginative when they approach the game with binoculars. They also develop their own game ideas. Designing with letters In the process of learning to write and read, I consciously choose design tasks in which the letter shapes play an important role. In this way, the familiar letters can be deepened and used creatively. Letter shapes are suitable for creating fantasy figures, people or animals. For example, if you put two feet on the bottom of the A, two hands on the side and a head on top, the letter becomes a figure. With a boy I observed how he drew a B on the arms of his letter figures and created funny muscle men. A girl developed this design task further and drew a house in which various letter figures lived. She called it the letter house. Almost all the letters she already knew could be seen in this house. The drawing motivated the others to draw their own house of letters. The resulting works of art were carefully examined and compared: In which house do the most different letter figures live? In which houses can I find the first letter of my first name? Which letter figures do I find particularly funny? Can I even write a word with the letters that live in a house? Another letter picture emerged when the children first only drew the outlines of objects. Instead of coloring them in, the children filled them in with the first letter of the respective word. So the tree consisted of a multitude of B s. Some children wrote the whole word into it instead of just the first letter. Letter traces Two design ideas result in letter traces. A marble colored with water color is placed on a drawing paper that is in a box. By moving the box, the children try to write different letters. You notice that there are letters that can be written without touching the marble. With other letters, on the other hand, the marble has to be reflat- themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 14

17 practice. They deal with the process of writing the letters. I tell the children to put the marble where you start to write the letter. Other letter traces emerge when the children let thin water paint drip onto a drawing paper. The paint is then blown into a letter with a drinking straw. Letter Shapes Children soon notice that letters are made up of the same shapes over and over again. Circles, ovals, arcs, lines (in different directions) and dots are enough to construct letters. There are many worksheets with swing and follow-up exercises, which help to loosen up the children's movements and to practice these forms. The workbook “Skilful hands drawing 1” by Sabine Pauli and Andrea Kirsch is particularly recommended. It is also advisable to draw these shapes over a large area: with a brush and water on the blackboard, with your finger in the air, in a box of sand or in a washbasin filled with water. Instead of coloring, the objects are filled with corresponding letters. So that the children can experience the structure of the font, I have them cut out these basic shapes from cardboard. In addition to laying freely, letters are also laid out specifically. The children think of a letter and name the building blocks that are needed to place this letter. As you guess, you will find out for yourself that there are letters for which you need the same building blocks. The children try to find out for which letter they need the least and which one needs the most building blocks. You divide the letters into groups: letters with only one building block and those with two, three or more building blocks. Hearing letters I looked for ways to let the children hear letters through their ears. The children keep their eyes closed while I write a letter on the blackboard. It is astonishing that the children can distinguish between letters quite well based on the noise that is made when writing with chalk on the blackboard. A circle sounds different than a line or a dot. The combination of noises, and also a short stopper when writing, give clues to the letter. For inexperienced ears, it is advisable to first limit the letters to a few and select those that differ greatly in terms of shape and number of building blocks. Another acoustic idea is to play letters with instruments. Based on the letter building blocks, we choose instruments that have the appropriate shapes: a tone stick for a line, a timpani for a circle. Now it's time to play the letters. If I want to play the letter "E", I hit the bar four times, which corresponds to four lines. Or the composition for a small "a" is one note on the timpani and one on the bar. The children always proved to be very adept at both playing and guessing. The question soon arose as to how one should play half circles, for example with the "B". We looked for solutions and agreed to immediately interrupt the sound of the kettledrum with our hands to indicate that it was not a complete circle. With the length of the sound, we can also distinguish between long and short strokes. “Writing” letters with instruments was a new experience for the class. The desire arose to use music to write words, perhaps one's own name. Letter games Many popular games can be converted into letter games. A favorite game in my class is the mouse game, which is commonly played with colored mice. Our mice were given letters on their backs, and the letter cube indicated which mouse the cat was allowed to catch with the cup. Since uppercase letters are depicted on the mice and lowercase letters on the dice, their assignment is practiced in the game at lightning speed. After I introduced the letter “J” in class, one girl made the following thought: “My way to school is actually like a“ J ”. First I go a little straight along the street. Afterwards I have to make a bow to the school building. Oh no, the bow is looking on the wrong side. But what about when I go home again? " When I heard that, I was happy because I knew that this girl had not only found her way to the schoolhouse, but also her way into the world of letters. Mirjam Wenger is a lower school teacher in Kleinlützel (SO) and a member of the editorial committee. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 15

18 Practice In order to learn to read and write, the pupils at the Muristalden basic level play in “Bern Bahnhof”. The four to eight year old children learn to use language and writing in learning environments that give each child individual and playful access to literacy. Niklaus Nuspliger On the train in the direction of the written language “Get in, please!” Shouts five-year-old Mirjam and swings the red-green trowel with official dignity to signal the four-year-old train driver Michelle to leave. The train, made of cardboard boxes, has three cars: a locomotive with a speedometer and numerous levers and switches, as well as one first and one second class car. There is even a minibar ready to provide travelers with coffee, chips and Haribo bears from self-made and labeled bags. The journey goes from “Bern” via “Zurich” to “Kanterstg”, as can be seen on the display board that hangs next to the meeting point sign in the station hall. Mirjam, Michelle and their classmates made the ads themselves. And while the train is slowly leaving Bern's main train station, seven-year-old Gian is already labeling and selling tickets for the next trains at the station counter, confirming reservations and announcing changes to the platform. The train station learning environment The display board, counter, train and minibar are no coincidence in the classroom of one of the two basic level classes at Bern's Muristalden private school.Rather, the station represents a learning environment that the four basic level teachers developed together with educational scientist Barbara Sörensen as part of the “literacy case study” - Photos: Stefan Weber The realistically designed learning environment encourages writing and reading activities. Themed folder «4 to 8» «The way to writing» page 16

19 practice. In the basic level, four to eight-year-old children go to school together and smoothly transfer from kindergarten to school. The entry into the cultural techniques cannot take place in the traditional forms of school-based learning, since children of preschool age in particular learn primarily through active disputes. That is why Barbara Sörensen developed various play and learning environments together with the four teachers at the basic level, which are intended to encourage all children to use the written language individually. The five phases of written language acquisition Barbara Sörensen, together with kindergarten teacher Christine Binggeli and primary school teacher Cornelia Zangger, who both teach at the basic level, presented the new forms of teaching on literacy at a media orientation in the premises of the Muristalden basic level in Bern. The phase model developed by the German scientist Hartmut Günther, who divides the written language acquisition into five phases, served as the theoretical basis for developing the new teaching concept. The first phase includes the recognition of three-dimensional objects in the two-dimensional image: the child identifies, for example, the tangible plush bear with the image of a bear in a book. In the second or logographemical phase, the children learn to differentiate between text and image and to read individual words as a whole. For example, five-year-old Mirjam recognizes the words “Bern” on the large display board in the classroom without being able to spell the word. When moving into the third or alphabetical phase, the child changes his strategy and assigns a corresponding letter (grapheme) to each sound (phoneme), which enables him to decipher and write new and unknown words, although he does not yet have an orthographic understanding and therefore often several words "related" without a gap. In the fourth or orthographic phase, the child gradually breaks away from spoken language and works with frequent combinations of letters and syllables, giving increasing importance to orthography. In the fifth and final phase, the child automates the use of writing and learns to understand the words and their meaning. Children not only learn the written language in different phases, every child also has a different access to the acquisition of written language, as Barbara Sörensen explained. For some children, everyday experiences such as their parents' reading a newspaper are in the foreground, while others playfully approach the written language with linguistic rhymes. "Different children need different approaches to literacy," summarized the educational scientist. Interpreting pictograms and reading timetables The play and learning environments in the basic level take these theoretical considerations into account: On the one hand, the environments enable individual different approaches to literacy and, on the other hand, address the children in the phase of the written language acquisition in which they are currently, like a kindergarten teacher Christine Binggeli explained. The environments stimulate the practical experiences are processed in the learning environment. Five-year-old Michelle assigns the correct meaning to pictograms in the train station, while eight-year-old Leonardo can read timetables or write reservations at the same time. Cornelia Zangger also pointed out the importance of the game: The learning environment was deliberately designed to be as realistic as possible, she explained. This enables the children, in their role as travel agency manager or counter clerk, to integrate writing “completely naturally” into their game. Every child has their own table of letters in the classroom, which assigns an object to each letter of the alphabet. Claudia Zangger explained that the table makes it easier for children to write and read independently in the game. Sometimes the game also includes “spontaneous and unplanned writing occasions” theme folder “4 to 8” “The way to writing” on page 17