IT IS disturbing to read that an increasing number of four-year-olds can write their names before starting school (TES, September 3) as this is often not an age-appropriate skill. Time and effort spent on its early acquisition may be at the expense of more important aspects of development; self-help and social skills are far more useful to a child entering school.
Today's youngsters will probably outlive their three score years and 10, but current social trends will shorten, not extend, their childhood. In the early years children's curiosity and physical energy should be encouraged, allowing socialising and learning through play, not sitting down to develop the fine co-ordination which writing requires.
In the drive to raise writing standards, particularly in boys, a later introduction would be more likely to be of benefit.
Our children are subjected to too much formal assessment. If preparing for baseline assessments becomes a feature of nurseries, we would be better off without it.
Holbrook primary school
Horsham, West Sussex