Many argue that teaching penmanship is a thing of the past, but at what age should children be taught to use a computer keyboard? Some are starting as early as kindergarten, but is it developmentally appropriate? We turn to a panel of experts for guidance on when to start teaching children to hunt and peck and use proper finger placement.
“Kindergartners at the Keyboard” – a report from the Hechinger Institute: http://hechingerreport.org/content/kindergarteners-at-the-keyboard_6485/
And be sure to check out my guests' posts on this topic:
- "What Should You Expect of Younger Keyboarders?" by Jacqui Murray
- "Education Technology - The Learning Paradox" by Cris Rowan
Any activities that promote eye-hand coordination, or that help strengthen fingers and hands, will help children with writing, keyboarding, and other life skills.
With fewer opportunities to swing across the monkey bars or climb trees, today’s children need as many hand-strengthening activities as we can provide for them. Here are some examples:
Open and Close. Lead the children in opening and closing their hands at varying tempos, alternately stretching fingers to their limit and then clenching fists tightly! Use the words open and close to reinforce these opposite verbs.
Counting Fingers. Have the children curl their hands into loose fists. As you count (very slowly at first!) from one to ten, have them uncurl one finger at a time. Reverse, counting backward from ten to one, with the children curling one finger at a time back into the palms of their hands.
Finger Fun. As you call out pointer, middle, ring, or pinky, have the children touch their corresponding finger with the thumb on that hand. Vary the tempo and order in which you call out the words. Practice with one hand at a time and then both hands together.
Finger Push-Ups. The children touch the tips of the fingers ad thumb on one hand to the tips of the fingers and thumb on the other hand. They alternately stretch and bend (lengthen and shorten) the fingers without breaking contact between them. You might accompany this exercise with a drum beat, or a hand clap, or by calling out, “Stretch and bend!”
These activities are excerpted from Jump into Literacy: Active Learning for Preschool Children by Rae Pica (Beltsville MD: Gryphon House, 2007).