This week the children have really enjoyed spending some time in the sunshine! It has been lovely to see the children exploring the outside area as Spring approaches.
This week we have been looking at the use of cutlery when we are eating our lunch. The Early Learning Goals state that children should be encouraged to use a range of tools as part of their Physical Development goal. Using cutlery safely and effectively is part of this goal and is something we would love to work in partnership with you on.
In school we encourage the use of a fork in the left hand and knife in the right. We practise using cutlery when we’re not eating too. We use playdough to help us practise our cutting skills which helps us to concentrate. It’s hard to use a knife and fork when you’re really hungry.
Learning to use cutlery is an important life skill and although not easy to master is something that will really benefit your child as they grow up.
The following advice is from the NHS on how to help your child at home.
- Take your time and be consistent. Learning a new skill takes time so persevere with giving support until you feel that the child is making progress.
- Practice, practice, practice! Give your child opportunities for practice every day.
Children learn in different ways so you might need to vary your approach. There are a number of ways in which you can help;
- Physically assist your child (Use the hand-over-hand technique, the child grasps the knife while the adult puts their hand over the top of the child’s).
- Show your child - do the task alongside your child.
- Tell your child - talk your child through each step of the process.
You can use each of these ways individually or any combination depending on what suits your child. Please be aware that some children cannot look and listen at the same time so limit the amount of information you are giving.
Think about the food you are using. Will it stick to the spoon rather than slide off, is it soft enough for your child to stab with a fork or cut with a knife?
Encourage a good cutlery grasp right from the start; your child’s index finger should point down the back of the fork or knife towards the prongs and blade.
Work on one aspect of using a knife at a time e.g. spreading or cutting.
You can also practice using a spoon, fork and knife (for cutting and spreading) during other activities e.g. when playing with play dough or during craft activities.