Stroke order, the writing pattern generated according to the construction of an individual Chinese character, is one of the most important elements that children have to learn when mastering the art of handwriting from kindergarten. Writing characters in the correct stroke order can greatly facilitate the learning of the spatial relationships and thus produce visually appealing characters; what’s more important, correct stroke order is vital for beginners to memorize the character’s composition, so that when they write they will not miss a stroke or two.
We attach stamps to every character the children write, as a way to show whether they have understand the right proportions; if the components are written too big, too small or lopsided, the children will get a strange and funny stamp.
This exercise book can display children’s daily accomplishments, and even put all their work on the same character in a line to show their progress.
There is a time limit! Seeing parents and their children fighting over the use of electronic gadgets is the last thing we want, because after all, we encourage children to learn with fun! Hence, we suggest that before doing the activities, parents and children agree on a time limit for the activity. Once the time is up, the children should take at least a 30 minute break before working on the activity again.
Learning to copy Chinese characters according to a certain order provides the children with clear ideas about where to start to write, and the direction as well as the sequence of the strokes. It helps the children develop the visual and kinesthetic memory required in systematical handwriting, thereby improve their copying speed and reducing the possibility of making mistakes. When children write on the screen of a tablet or a smartphone with their little fingers, they concentrate more on learning the stroke order because they do not have to experience the difficulty of holding a pencil.
In this system, the stroke orders are strictly based on the Lexical Items with English Explanations for Fundamental Chinese Learning in Hong Kong Schools published by Chinese Language Education Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau, HKSAR in 2009, and their List of Graphemes of Commonly-used Chinese Characters: 2007 Re-arranged with Cantonese and Putonghua Pronunciations and Simple English Explanations published in 2012.