ANN PARDES, EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER DIRECTOR
One of our many responsibilities in the ECC is to prepare children for kindergarten in our area’s finest public and private schools. According to many kindergarten teachers “it is very difficult for a child to enter kindergarten with weak coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers.” Research shows that handwriting is a critical skill that can influence children’s reading, creative writing, language use, and critical thinking. It has an important role in brain development and is necessary alongside technology in the classroom. The earlier we teach children to master handwriting, the more likely they are to succeed in school, and write with speed and ease in all subjects.
In order to ensure that our ECC kiddies engage in best practice for fine motor skills, we examined what we are currently doing in the classrooms. We determined that our children could benefit from a more formalized program, but it had to be child-friendly, age-appropriate, and non-threatening.
Last month we launched “Handwriting Without Tears” (HWWT). This multisensory handwriting program is designed for young children. It incorporates fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate instructional methods to enable children to master handwriting as an automatic and comfortable skill. HWWT works and is a proven method of accomplishing our goals. Most importantly, it provides opportunities for children to feel like competent and capable learners.
Our Four’s staff participated in a unique, hands-on workshop which introduced HWWT. Led by a master teacher trained in the program, our teachers learned about components of the curriculum and strategies for instruction. Meanwhile, the children engaged in small group activities using the hands-on materials that make up the program. Later this month, our Three’s staff and children will have the opportunity to participate in a similar workshop geared toward their age and ability level. Our two-year-olds are already receiving their own experience suitable for them via the fun, musical component of the program. You will read more about our new adventure in future issues of The Review.