The directions that teachers use to teach handwriting in the school assume that children understand spatial and temporal(related to or limited by time) concepts. Hey what???
These are obviously terms used to confuse any but the initiated, but all it really means is can they get their minds, to communicate to the hand, the directions the teacher is giving them. Terms such as "on top of the line, "above the line," or "between the lines" and many more, are used in handwriting instruction.
An ability to understand these terms is acquired as children develop both physically and mentally. The age at which the average child begins to understand the position "in" is 2 years. Additional positions or locations are learned as the child increases in age, with the most challenging locations, "back/front" usually understood by the average child at 4 years 8 months.
Practice in understanding locations or positions is covered in the preschool curriculum, but it is often assumed by Kindergarten teachers that this concept has already been gained and they proceed from there. If a student's concepts in this area are only a few months later in developing, than their entry to kindergarten, it can effect their self esteem, or belief in themselves, to the extent that they cease believing that they can succeed.
I'm going to get on my favourite hobby horse here, about mid-year intake in Kindergarten. What this actually does is take a child into Kindergarten who is approximately six months younger in age, skill and concept development and only give them half a year of Kindergarten before they are required to keep up with the curriculum in year one. Now I ask you - does that sound, in any way at all, logical to you, or good for your child? If you answer "Not logical at all." and you say "I'll never do that to my child", I'll give you an A++++++++. Please, please, please, even if you do think you have a genius on your hands, and you may, hold your child back until the beginning of the next year.
Activities to help your child with positions are fairly obvious. I've given you some below, but you'll probably think of lots more as you progress.
1. Take something in your hand. Hold it in different positions and ask your child to tell you where it is.
2. Find the object. Hide something and give the child instructions, one at a time, on how to find it. Use a lot of position words. such as in, on, under, over, above, through. If you want to brainstorm about position words use the sentence. "The fox jumped..................the gate." Any word that fits in the space in this sentence is a position or location word.
3. More advanced practice. Take a picture with objects in it and ask the child to describe to you where one particular object is. Make it simple to begin with - not many things on the page. As they gain skill you can make the picture more complicated. Repeat their instructions out loud as you find the object and be very positive when you do.
4. Give your child an object to hold and then give them instructions about where to hide it. You can leave it at that, or you can prolong the game by getting your little student to give someone else position/location instructions on how to find it.