Today, four teachers and I attended a workshop on teaching language and literacy in an emergent environment. We definitely do not start teaching writing skills by putting a pencil in a child's hand. Pre-writing activities start long before then. In fact, all fine and gross motor activities are pre-writing activities.
Writing involves motor control, spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and muscle strength, and big muscles must develop before small muscles. We develop big and small muscles by playing with blocks, painting, beading, weaving, molding clay, tearing, cutting, playing with Legos, cooking, and gardening. (Click here for more ideas.)
So . . . spoons? Yes. Tools are extensions of our arms and hands, and as such, holding a spoon or a fork is an introduction to holding a pencil. When you pack your child's lunch with foods they must eat with a spoon or fork, know that you're helping them on the path to literacy.