English: Handwriting Lead
By the time children leave Chadsmead, all children use neatly formed cursive writing. We believe this speeds up their writing, improving the quantity of text produced whilst also being a pleasure to read. Children who write quickly generally get more words on the paper and produce better quality content. Cursive writing also helps with spelling as one develops a muscle memory of the movements of each word.
The teaching of handwriting starts in Nursery where children learn mark making and how to begin to form letters. This continues into Reception where children are taught daily how to form letters and write simple sentences in un-joined neat writing. Daily practice is continued in Year 1 to give sufficient time to develop this skill.
The teaching of cursive handwriting starts when the children have developed the necessary visual-motor integration skills, sufficient pencil control and the ability to change direction several times within one letter shape. This is during late Year 2 and then continues in Year 3 – Year 6. Good modelling from teaching staff is essential to allow children to see how to produce high quality letters and joins. Later in school children may learn their spellings while practising handwriting.
Children write in pencil but may ‘earn’ a pen license when their cursive style is fluent and neatly presented.
From the earliest stages, we monitor pencil grip. It’s important that the pad of the thumb connects with the pencil; if the side or tip of the thumb touches, it closes-up the hand and restricts the flow of movement. The more children practise patterning, the sooner they will establish the neuro-motor pathways that make them automatic.
Children are not taught letters in alphabetical order, but in groups according to their formation for example 'a', 'c', 'e' and 'o' are taught together because they're all based on an anticlockwise circle.
Good posture is essential for handwriting. We encourage children to sit with their feet flat on the floor, their back straight (no heads on the table) and relaxed shoulders.
Children who struggle with handwriting receive extra support through intervention or small group work.