Created by Fiona Cowan (Headteacher), Melanie Harwood (Education Specialist) and Jonathan Harwood – Exclusively available from Harwood Education
Helping Mini Movers to Write, from the Start!
Mini-Bees is a fun, interactive and creative programme designed to help young children to develop the skills necessary to become confident and fluent writers.
The ‘Mini-Bees’ Programme aims to support the development of Gross and Fine Motor Skills at a young age in a fun, interactive way.
It has been designed to ensure that young children develop such essential skills alongside other desirable early learning skills.
The Mini-Bees Programme provides an introduction to structured handwriting that ensures that children have the physical dexterity, strength and stamina to develop fluent, legible and joined handwriting, right from the start.
Mini-Bee activities offer a range of formats including free flow play along with direct instructional and guided activities. It provides children with opportunities to develop their listening skills and the pre-phonic skills related for sound discrimination; rhythm and rhyme.
Knowledge gained will enhance their enjoyment of music and understanding of the world.
The programme consists of three elements:
- Active Eight
- Smart Five – Creative Station
- Wiggle to scribble
Each section has a specific purpose, is adaptable, fluid and can be used to support the needs of children and their environment.
The content can be up-taken by anyone, including parents, carers and teachers at settings that include the home, pre-schools, nurseries and schools.
The three element may be delivered according to requirement. However, we would recommend that:
- Active Eight sessions are delivered once or twice weekly for best advantage, but rmay be epeated daily if required. Each is a stand alone session. However, each weekly set of activities concentrate on different aspects of Gross Motor development.
- Smart five Creative Stations sessions should be delivered daily for best advantage. Each session concentrates on a different aspect of fine motor control. The Smart Five ‘Successful Scissors Activities’ are the sole set of sequential activities and should be worked through accordingly.
- Wiggle to scribble is a plenary, which can be delivered at a suitable time and space for the setting. It can be delivered as often as required. These titles match the Active Eight sessions.
Active Eight sessions develop the following Gross Motor Skills:
- Core Stability and Shoulder Girdle – To develop the physical stamina needed to sit up straight and to write well
- Bilateral Co-ordination and Crossing the midline – to ensure that those children on the DCD (Dyspraxia) Spectrum are given more help to develop spatial awareness and to considerably negate the negative impact of DCD (Dyspraxia).
- Stamina and Strength
- Moving and Stopping
- Hand-Eye Co-ordination, Visual Motor Integration and Spatial Awareness
Smart five Creative Station
Smart Five activities support the development of the following fine motor controls:
- Hand Function – ‘Finger Fun’ that includes Thumb Opposition, Finger Isolation, Grip and Grasp, Wrist and hand Strength and the development of the Hand Arch
- Tactile Perception – Feeling Fab
- Hand Eye Coordination / Visual-Motor Integration – Hip Hop Hands
- Crossing over the Mid Line – Moving Muscles
- Scissor Development – Successful Scissors
Wiggle to Scribble
This element introduces gross motor movement in tune with music. It requires children to follow instructions while holding pencils and using over-exaggerated large scale movement in order to develop good writing skills.
Mini-Bees, being a weekly programme should include one ‘Active Eight’ session, Five Smart Five Creative Station sessions and one Wiggle to Scribble session per week.
The sessions can be organised as preferred and can be delivered over a fortnightly period. The Smart Five sessions can be accessed on a pick and mix basis, on the premise that children access one element from each area, so that no one area is omitted. The Successful Scissors element of the ‘Smart Five Creative Station’ set of activities is the only sequential element. Consequently, each Successful Scissor session should be delivered as such since they are developmental. Children should not move on to the next lesson until they have mastered the previous session.
- Successful Scissor activities are designed to develop:
- Random Ripping
- Controlled ripping
- Snipping – soft material
- Snipping – stronger material
- Snipping paper
- Controlled cutting
- Cutting guided straight lines
- Unguided straight lines
- Zig zag lines
- Curved lines (circles, waves, hearts)
- Right angles (squares and rectangles)