Often when I ask preschool parents if their child has ever used scissors I get two responses. The first is that they haven’t let them and are afraid of all the things they would cut with them, including their own hair (many parents worst nightmare). The other response is that they haven’t really thought of doing it and/ or thought they were too young to use scissors.
Each year when we begin our preschool year, we don't have scissors out initially. After a few weeks we do a sit down lesson with the scissors. We talk about how to hold the scissors safely, how to carry them safely, how we only cut the paper put out for that purpose in the classroom, etc. Then we do the Mr. Smiley lesson.
|Showing how to safely transport the scissors safely|
We determine the child's dominant hand (if it's been determined) and draw two dots for eyes and a smile on the dominant hand thumbnail with a washable marker so that when they hold their thumb up they see a smiley face.
|Mr. Smiley is quite magical, no doubt.|
We show them where to put their thumb and where their fingers go. I give each child a strip of paper that is about 2 inches tall and 8 1/2 inches wide. It has about 1 inch vertical lines on it, each about an inch apart. The goal is to see how they do with cutting on the line and stopping when the line stops.
Instead of correcting when a child turns their hand over while cutting, which happens a lot, we ask if they can see Mr. Smiley smiling at them.
They automatically turn their hand back upright.
This is a beginning of the year baseline so we can see progress from that point forward. After that we put out plastic scissors with the playdough and the children's Fiskars in the art area. We monitor the use to make sure they aren't cutting anything they shouldn't. Sometimes I put out old Scholastic magazines or old household magazines for them to cut on, sometimes we put out ribbons and tape in the art area for them to snip, and we've even put ribbons in our sensory table for them to cut.
|We do this assessment at the beginning of the year|
and near the end of the year to see the progress
a year makes.
After the introduction and the determination that the child understands the safety issues, the scissors become a permanent part of the art area.