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Hope K. Gerde, PhD; Tricia D. Foster, MOT, OTR/L; Lori E. Skibbe, PhD


Occupational therapists (OTs) play an important role in early childhood classrooms as vital members of the educational team, particularly for young children’s writing development. Children’s emergent writing is a foundational literacy skill, which begins to develop well before they enter elementary school. However, early childhood classrooms are lacking in supports for early writing development. OTs are experts in guiding the development of early writing skills in young children and, therefore, should be considered as critical members of the early literacy curriculum team. This paper identifies the critical role emergent writing plays in early childhood literacy development and how to effectively assess young children’s writing ability. Practical guidance is provided to identify specific ways that OTs can merge their occupation-centered approach with their expertise in writing to serve as a key resource for classroom teachers and enhance the writing development of all children. Specific strategies are included for encouraging OTs to expand their approaches to writing beyond handwriting.