BY Cammie Gainey
Station Avenue Elementary School (South Yarmouth)
The goal of this project is to purchase fine motor materials and tools for kindergarten classrooms at Station Avenue Elementary school in order to give students opportunities to build fine motor skills during academic tasks. The objective is for the students to participate in one fine motor activity per day in order to work on fine motor skills such as strength, dexterity, and coordination. Each fine motor activity can be paired with an academic task. Examples are listed below.
Clothespin activity – use to match letters or shapes, clothespins help with fine motor strength and specifically strength in the fingers used to manipulate a writing tool.
Stamp activity – instead of circling a correct answer, place a stamp on it. Stamps help with overall hand strength, finger strength, and fine motor coordination.
Tong activity – find letters in a sand bucket, tongs and tweezers help develop the muscles used to hold a pencil, as well as separation of the hand which is important to writing and manipulating small objects.
Therapy Putty activity – hide letters on theraputty, the theraputty comes in different strengths, so each child can use the specific type of putty to strengthen their hands, wrist, and forearm. This also helps with sensory regulation.
Stringing Alphabet Beads activity – practice sequencing alphabet, stringing beads works on fine motor precision and bilateral coordination.
How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)?
The project will be evaluated by classroom clinical observation. For example, after 6 weeks of daily fine motor activities, are the students able to hold their pencil more efficiently? After 6 weeks of stringing beads, are the children able to cut better (this requires the bilateral skills needed for both stringing and cutting).
Benefit to the students and the school
I believe this project will benefit the students and school by providing them with appropriate fine motor activities to build their strength, precision and coordination so they are able to manipulate writing tools and classroom objects efficiently, allowing them to spend their energy on the academic task at hand. The prevalence of fine motor problems in young children is increasing (Chiu & Reid, 2002). Researchers reported that children who engaged in greater than 60 minutes of weekly touch-screen, computer play had weaker fine motor skill when compared to children who engaged in less touch-screen time. These results suggest that today’s increased use of technology may be negatively impacting fine motor development in kids (Lin et al., 2017). Participation in fine motor activities make up between 30% to 60% of a student’s school day (Cermack and Marr, 1992). Young students need to experience playing with different types of toys that require fine motor strength, dexterity, and coordination in order to develop the fine motor skills required in school (e.g. holding a pencil correctly, using manipulatives during math, and using scissors). Students who have these fine motor skills can focus on the academic task at hand, instead of how to hold a pencil.
Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
As soon as I receive the supplies, I would need 2-3 days to set up the activities in the classroom and train the teachers on the activities goals, objectives and development skills being targeted and how to modify and grade activities.