How the brain controls movement and motor learning

Understanding how the brain controls movements for drawing and handwriting provides insight into some of the difficulties children experience when learning to draw and print letters. 

The way we teach and structure practice also makes a big difference to learning a new skills, especially if the child has some difficulties with coordination. 

Skills needed or learning from instruction include: knowing how to pay attention, attend to and remember instructions, complete a task and persist in the face of failure. Importantly children need to learn the rules of smart practice.

Carefully watching how a task is performed provides the learner with information about the structure of the task: what needs to be done to achieve the goals,  the sequence of movements needed to complete the task and what the end result should be like. The power of a demonstration for learning a new task lies in the dual function of mirror neurons.

It is important to remember that learning to write letters starts with learning the motor plan for the letters and being able to fluently link the successive strokes to form the letter.
Tracing encourages visual monitoring of strokes and undermines learning the motor pattern.
 

Getting involved in drawing projects trains / develops a child's ability and willingness to sit and work at a project, explore different ways of  making marks, arrange lines and shapes on a page and develops the strength and coordination needed for handwriting.