We think that teaching children to develop a consistent, efficient and attractive handwriting style is extremely important. Our aim is to ensure that no child fails as a writer because they never got to grips (excuse the pun!) with handwriting. We believe that the most important work is done in earlier years. We aim to “get handwriting” right by the age of 8. Why? We believe that it is important for a child to develop the correct habits from the very start. It’s much harder (nothing is ever impossible!) to change a child’s pencil grip, letter formation or handwriting style when they have already learnt to do something (incorrectly!) and are asked to make changes.
Nursery and Reception: Building the foundations by providing quality activities that enable children to develop core body strength, tactile perception (awareness of your hands and fingers), bilateral coordination (getting both hands to work well together). We appreciate the importance of creating opportunities for children to get their big muscles working well, so that they can exercise greater control over their smaller muscles. There are principles of development called “big to small” and “proximal to distal” which mean that children develop the larger muscles of the trunk and arms before the smaller muscles of the hands, and that the proximal muscles closer to the body centre (shoulder and upper arm muscles) develop before the distal muscles which are further away (for example, the hand muscles).
Key Stage 1: The focus is on developing an efficient pencil grip and the correct posture.
Year 3: The children concentrate on honing an efficient grip and posture.
After that it’s a case of promoting a master-class culture.
A strong emphasis is put upon developing children’s physical skills in the early years. As a result the handwriting right at the start of Year 1 is extremely good, as these examples of Year 1 writing in the Autumn Term reveal.