In elementary school, kids spend 30% to 60% of their class time on fine motor skills and writing.
That’s according to a 1992 study in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
So, the more motor skills they can learn early, they better they’re likely to do in school.
And area teachers were helping them.
Fifty Marquette County and Alger County preschool teachers and teacher’s aides got together in Marquette this morning.
They broke into song as they learned ways to present handwriting skills to their students.
Jan Olson, a preschool teacher at the Brookton Early Childhood Education Center in Marquette Township, says writing skills can be taught in many different ways, and she was excited to be learning a few new ways.
‘handwriting without tears’ is an award–winning curriculum for younger students.
Paula Heinricher, an occupational therapist, presented today’s workshop on it.
She says kindergarten and elementary school are more difficult for kids who don’t learn the motor skills involved with writing when they’re still in preschool.
Among other things, Heinricher advocates the use of four pieces of wood — a big line, a small line, a big curve and a small curve.
All 26 english–language capital letters can be created using those four shapes.
Heinricher says the wooden pieces are large and sturdy enough for the young kids to move around and use to get a good handle on how letters are supposed to look before they start writing.
Olson says the program should help not only with writing, but with reading comprehension.
She says any method used to teach preschoolers has to be fun, and she thinks Handwriting Without Borders fits that bill.
the program is used across the u–s, and in 60 foreign countries.
If you want to know more about Handwriting Without Tears, you can find it here.