Cutting Skills for your Preschooler- Consulting with the Professionals


An area that many teachers focus on with their preschool class, is the fine art of cutting! Your little one may have just started with cutting, and you may be going bonkers with the strips of paper lying all over his/her play area from all the practice. This is so important to your child’s development and fine motor skills! It would be so valuable for you to encourage this, and to make sure they are on the right track. We consulted with Bonita, headmistress at George Little Farm School, on the matter. So here are some guidelines to follow and things to keep in mind a your child learns to cut.

George Little Farm School Facebook page

A bit more about George Little Farm school…

From small beginnings to having just 2 little blessing to care for our journey began in March 2014, educating and caring for kids in our back garden with a vision of a country, farm setting and teaching kids through play. Our Ethos: to get as dirty as possible

Our George swim school was born first and thus grew our Pre-school. Offering education and a life skill of learning to swim.

We have been so blessed that since then we have purchased a permanent home for our Pre-school and swim school. Our numbers have grown to over 120 children, accommodating kids from 3 months to Gr R and furthermore we teach more than 150 children how to swim from our Pre-school and various other schools in George surrounds, lets not forget we are too the home of one Piggy; Buksy, 3 goats, John, Deere and Petal, 2 bunnies, one chicken and many beautiful doves.

In 2017 with support from our 5 pre-school teachers we developed and wrote our very own curriculum, specifically designed age appropriate workbooks developing every needed skill and milestone. Our workbooks include termly assessments to help keep parents and teachers informed of the child’s abilities on a regular basis, we are truly proud of our workbooks and wish to share it with surrounding schools in south Africa, helping, assisting and simplifying their daily duties.

We have too added a Remedial school in 2019, hoping to aid parents who have children who need extra, special and individualized attention, struggling in main stream schools or have a learning barrier of any kind. We specialize in ADDHD and high functioning autism, offering water, play and clay therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy forming part of their weekly activities. We are able to accommodate children from Gr RR to 3.

We pride ourselves in offering an excellent education and a great learning environment for your little ones.

We hope to continue being beneficial to the community.

What is the correct way to cut with a scissor?

It is important to have the correct fingers in the correct place. Thumb in one hole and the middle finger through the other. The index finger can rest on the outside of the scissors or alternatively be in the same hole as the middle finger.

What are some common issues found when a child learns to cut?

The incorrect grip and placement of fingers, weakening in their hand a finger muscles and the coordination of the grip and release motion or opening and closing the scissors.


Is there any reason these issues occur?

It is mostly the lack and development of fine motor skills caused by technology. The increase of TV, tablets and ipads. Babies are more likely to be placed in a walking ring or rocking chair instead of having tummy time, rolling around and exploring the floor and surroundings.

How does being left handed affect a child in learning to cut?

The concept of the grasp and opening and closing motion should be based on the same principles as mentioned before, However its most important to have a left handed child use a left handed scissors.


At what age should you be concerned about your child’s cutting skills? What action should a parent take if a problem is identified?

We start introducing cutting from the young age of 2 years, teaching them the hand position, grip and motion of opening and closing. By 3 years they should be able to snip paper while moving the scissors forward across the paper.

By 4 years they should be able to cut along a curved line and between 5-6 years cut out squares and more complex shapes.

I would advise to seek a medical physician or occupational therapist should you child be showing signs of delay in any fine motor skills  by the age of 3 years.

What are some fun/easy tools or activities a parent could use to help their child learn to cut correctly and work on their cutting?

I would suggest by first mastering the grasp release motion or open and closing the scissors. This takes great coordination so a fun way to practise this motion is to have your child use spray bottle to water plants or even during bath time, squeezing an releasing the trigger helps to get the hang of the repetitive grasp and release concept. Another fun activity is to open and close clothes pins or pegs, hanging up washing or picking up simple items with them.

I would too encourage tearing paper in strips (newspapers work well), once they have mastered the above skills you can move onto cutting playdough

Then cutting a narrow (1.5cm) width paper into strips

You can too have a child cut the edge of a A4 paper all around the edges, just to the length of the scissors.

Once all the above activities have been mastered you can introduce cutting on straight or curved lines, it is important to teach right handers to cut to the right of the shape and left handers to cut to the left of the shape, also be sure to check that the child is using the assistant hand to hold the paper off the table, the thumb on top and the fingers underneath.

How can issues with cutting affect my child?

It is important to remember that when a child doesn’t learn to cut properly it hinders their development in pencil control. Cutting with scissors is a pre-writing skill. The thumb, index and middle fingers (tripod fingers) work together to control a pencil, cutting with scissors strengthen your child’s hand muscles resulting to improve fine motor skills and good pencil control for good handwriting.


Scissors available at Diskonto Stationers…

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