Rainbow Child Care Center

Rainbow Child Care Center

Rainbow Child Care Center opened its first school in 1986 in Hillsborough, New Jersey. Today there are more than 121 Rainbow Child Care Centers found in 15 states.

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The Montessori Preschool

The Montessori Preschool

The Montessori Preschool opened its doors in 2012, and continues to grow every year. If there is interest in your area, please let us know!

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Rainbow Referral

Rainbow Referral

Do you know a family in need of a Home Away From Home? Share the Rainbow Difference with the Rainbow Referral program and receive one free week of tuition!

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Pre-Writing Skills

pre-writing-skillsThe ability to write requires developmental skills such as eye hand coordination- fine motor ability and visual discrimination. In order to be ready to write, children need to have developed hand skills. This means they need to have the strength and dexterity to handle, and control, small objects with their hands. But, they will also need to develop the muscles in their forearm and upper body to provide the strength and stability that will allow them to use their hands to manipulate and control writing instruments.


Eye-hand coordination is another pre-writing skill, as is the ability to process sensory information. The brain coordinates tactile and movement sensations as a child are writing, which allows him to make changes as needed to maintain muscle control.

A Pincer Grasp enables a child to pick up small items using the thumb and index finger. When a child has developed strong fine motor skills, he is usually able to use a pincer grip to easily twist dials or door knobs, turn the pages of a book, zip and unzip a zipper, and use crayons or pencils with precision. Here are some activities and materials you can make available to the children to help develop a strong Pincer Grip, necessary to develop pre-writing skills.

These are skills a child develops by practice with age appropriate developmental materials such as blocks- play dough- easel painting – puzzles- as well as being provided with crayons markers- pencils and any other “writing tools”. Children learn to write on their own- on paper when they express the desire  to writer something they see- or want to express. This is why we do “language” experience charts- as well as why we write what they tell us on their drawings and painting – That is why we look at picture books- we get them to talk- and then -they want us to write what they say.

Outdoor and gross motor play is vital to developing the fine motor skills needed for writing. Be sure to provide the children in you program with plenty of opportunities to climb, hang, swing, and dangle from monkey bars or other playground equipment. Twisting, turning, pushing, pulling, tugging, and lifting him/herself up are other activities that help to develop the muscles used for writing.

Use vertical spaces for drawing and other activities such as flannel boards, chalkboards, and letter and number magnets to strengthen the upper body while standing.

  1. Provide lots of opportunity to work with Play-Doh and clay which helps develop finger and hand strength and control. When they are playing with these materials, children are squeezing and kneading, poking and pinching, rolling and pressing – all excellent strength building movements.
  2. Provide comfy spaces to encourage tummy-lying on the floor with arms propped on forearms to read books, color or do puzzles.
  3. To encourage and support pincer grip development:
  4. Include activities that involve using tools such as tongs, tweezers, clothespins, and eyedroppers.
  5. Let the children practice using chopsticks.
    1. Provide alternatives to paint brushes that require the child hold the tool between his thumb and index finger such as Q-tips and make-up sponges.
    2. Include activities that involve dropping small items through a slot ( for example, depositing pennies into a piggy bank).
    3. Have the children tear paper into strips. You can always use the strips for an art project!
    4. Have the children pop bubble wrap between their thumb and index fingers.
    5. Have wind-up toys available, and encourage the children to wind them themselves.
    6. Include beading and lacing activities.

Developing Pre-Writing Skills – The Squeeze Factor

The muscles in the palm of our hands control the movements of the thumb and fingers. When a child has developed strong fine motor skills, he is able to control the thumb and fingers individually, rather than just grasping items with his entire fist as an infant does.

To develop and strengthen the hand muscles:

  1. Do art and science activities that involve squeeze paint or glue tubes and bottles, turkey basters or bulb syringes (like you would find in the infant section at Target). Children can use these with liquids or do experiments with air.
  2. Provide plenty of opportunity to cut with scissors.
  3. Introduce children to using a hole punch and let them make the dots for a future art project!
  4. Give the children spray bottles and let them help clean, water plants or do spray bottle painting.

You can put food coloring in the water for art and science projects

Provide plenty of squeeze toys, such as stress balls, foam balls and squeaky toys.

Have the children help clean up and let them squeeze out the sponges. Again, you could add a little color to turn this into a science or art activity!