Many parents & educators strive for their children & students to be able to print their name upon entering Kindergarten. Is this a realistic expectation? There are many factors that contribute to a child’s ability to print. However most of them revolve around the issue of developmental readiness. Developmental readiness refers to your child’s degree of mastery over the skills that are requires to build a strong foundation upon which a new task is learned. For example, a child must be proficient at walking before learning to run.
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The set of skills that serve as the foundation for printing & writing is called pre-printing skills. As with learning to run, your child must have mastered their pre-printing skills before learning to print. Now everyone knows of a child or two that could print their name at a very young age. But could those children print any letters that were not in their name? I would not be surprised if they could not. Teaching a child to print their name without facilitating the development of their pre-printing foundation can result in splinter skills. These include being able to print your name & no other letters, or bad habits like forming letters from the bottom up rather than top down. A child must have a strong foundation of skills to enable them to print all letters & numbers. Frequently children are faced with the challenge of learning to print their name when they do not have such a foundation. When this is the case, there is the risk of failure & frustration.