Sensory processes and fine motor skills begin to form in the preschool stage, around the age of 3-4, and are extremely important for the future development of the child. It is the period in which he must be continually encouraged to explore the environment, develop his senses and skills, aspects that will help him to manage at school and later in life.
For many parents, these scientific terms are quite complicated and difficult to understand. I asked her Cristina Calarasanu, psychologist specialized in Family Psychoanalytic Therapy, to explain, in a simpler language and in the meaning of all, what exactly the sensory processes and fine motor skills are, why they are important and especially how you can encourage the child to develop them!
Sensory processes in children 3-4 years old
The sensory plan and its exploration are important at the preschool age, as they provide the first basis of the child's learning and experience.
Sensory processes they are part of the psychic phenomena specific to the human being and they fulfill two important functions:
- information, which integrates memory, thinking, creativity;
- regulatory, in which the affective, the emotions, the will are identified.
Cognitive processes they are also divided into two categories:
- sensory (sensations, perceptions and representations - which are based on the activity of the senses);
- intellectual (memory, logic, thinking - it is based on logical mechanisms).
Therefore, the sensory processes refer to sensations, perceptions and representations, with which the child makes contact since he was little and which he develops through direct contact with surrounding objects.
The sensations are the simplest links that the preschooler can establish with the internal or external environment, based on the senses and the desire for exploration and knowledge, specific to the age.
The psychologist explains that "at the age of 3-4 years, the experience is largely direct, that is, based on the direct contact with what exists around the child and on his need to explore using his senses (he likes to smell, to touch, listen, use their body for a long time. "
Following the direct contact with certain objects and the exercise of the senses, perceptions are born, another important component of the psychic processes.
Based on the sensations, the child begins to utter phrases about his or her state of comfort, says the psychologist. "I am hot, I am cold, it burns, it smells bad, etc." - all these are perceptions translated into verbal language. Parents play an essential role in teaching the child to express these states through words, from an early age.
representations, the third component of the psychic processes, is also formed based on the exploration and training of the senses. "Based on the sensory plane, the first and most consistent representations are formed, which will constitute a cognitive baggage capable of supporting the child's ability to tell what he saw or where he was, as well as to support his imagination and vocabulary."
Fine motor skills in children 3-4 years old
Fine motor skills translate, more simply, through skill or insight and it is up to the child's ability to successfully handle and use certain objects, to place them on top of each other, to properly hold the pen in his hand and to catch a ball or to dress alone.
Fine motor skills are an essential process for developing some basic skills of the child - writing, drawing, dressing, dressing, etc. The skill of the child develops with much training and patience from the parents.
Fine motor skills do not develop as simply as walking, running or jumping - which are part of what is called gross motor skills.
At the base of fine motor skills lie both muscular strength and hand-eye coordination, joint mobility (of fingers, hands), skills that the child uses when making a block of cubes, when drawing and holding the pen in his hand or when he puts his head a jigsaw puzzle, etc.
Cristina Calarasanu emphasizes that the preschooler best develops fine motor skills through activities and games involving hands and fingers, which are essential for handling objects. In this way, the child learns to grasp, to cling, to catch, to throw, to hold things with greater precision.
Among the recommended activities for the development of fine motor skills in preschoolers, the psychologist lists:
- games to build;
- plasticine games (to be modeled);
- chalk games;
- drawing or writing.
The psychologist claims that, as the child develops more fine motor skills, he / she gains more autonomy in performing normal activities - he / she dresses and undresses alone, closes at the buttons, pulls the zipper at the trousers or at the neck, washing alone and so on
The specialist advises parents to let the child experience as many things as small, even if some attempts fail at first. "It is important to be encouraged to hold the pencil, to pamper it, to get used to it in the handle. The greatest challenge of fine motor skills will be writing. Coloring, painting are also useful, if the pressure does not appear to respect a certain space or not to go beyond the space. Gradually, these coordinates appear between the space and the color only on a portion and it needs to appear as a result of an adjustment of the child and not of a pressure of the parent or teacher. "
According to the expert, parents should encourage the child with great patience and exercise to hold the pen correctly in his hand or to make a puzzle and especially, not to criticize or to criticize it when it is wrong.
Both the development of sensory processes and fine motor skills require time and patience on the part of the parents, but they are essential for the young child to become an independent and discouraged child later in adolescence, but also in adulthood.
How do you encourage the child to use their sensory processes and develop their fine motor skills? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Tags Fine motor skills children