Believe it or not, 20 years ago we did NOT teach children to write in kindergarten. It was thought to be developmentally inappropriate and lined paper was strictly forbidden. Now, we are even expecting four-year olds to write. Their hands haven’t changed, but our expectations have. The trick here is to keep it CHALLENGING, yet PLAYFUL. We want to provide young children with an opportunity learn, but we need to be respectful of their individual differences and abilities.
The research on “hand” writing is interesting and highlights why it is important to include it in our curriculum. Neuroscientists and psychologists point out that the act of actually “forming letters with a writing implement provides indispensable cognitive advantages over its digital shortcut…”
Click to read: Science - What's Lost as Handwriting Fades
You’ve watched your own students compose letters and you know how totally focused they are. Studies are showing what you’ve known all along - much more of the brain is activated when children actually write by hand rather than tap a key. Research is also suggesting that writing by hand might enable students to express more ideas. Note taking by hand rather than an electronic device also seems to help students remember better.
Children are like flowers.
You never know when they are going to bloom,
but you just keep on watering them.
That quote is an important one to remember as children learn how to write. Handwriting, like any skill, takes time and it takes practice. Remember, it doesn’t matter what their letters looks like. The important thing is that they are engaged and trying.
My webmaster Alex May has taken songs my daughter Holly wrote about ten years ago and turned them into Youtube videos where your students can watch how letters are formed and then join along and form them in the air. Alex broke the song down into videos with four letters at a time so your students don’t get overwhelmed. We know that learning goes from large to small and simple to complex. If children practice making invisible letters in the air using big movements, it will be easier for them to transfer those strokes to paper.