BBC Journalist Manpreet Mellhi joined handwriting expert Julie Palmer at Wycliffe Prep School today as the School took part in National Handwriting Day. Mrs Palmer demonstrated how she helps pupils learn how to write properly. With a number of very willing helpers, Mrs Palmer showed Manpreet a variety of the exercises she uses to help develop the fine motor skills that are essential for good handwriting. Mrs Palmer explained that whilst the use of laptops and mobile phones, might make some people think that we do not need to learn to write anymore, the key relationship between the brain and the hand is well documented. Studies have shown that students taking notes by hand retain far more information than those who put notes into a laptop (or indeed listen to a recording of a lecture!), because the neural circuit in the brain has been activated by the physical engagement of writing. And, of course, for at least the foreseeable future, our exam system still requires pupils to write three hour papers!
The pupils in Mrs Palmer’s class all enjoy her lessons which include writing in the sand, developing balance and motor skills and lots of finger exercises including rubbing blue tack into a ball and then into a cube and back again – try it home – it is not that easy!
Mrs Palmer’s top tips for teaching your child to write:
Teach your child to hold a pencil properly by squeezing a pencil between the forefinger and thumbprint and resting the length on the “cushion” between both
Use colouring and dot-to-dot to improve pencil control
Build up their core strength and balancing skills – simple things like standing on one leg, and then repeating this with eyes closed
Make concentric circles in sand or by squirting water from a bottle on to an outside wall
Find out more about why Wycliffe Prep thinks great handwriting is so important by visiting us at our Open Day on 3 March. For more information contact Miss Briony Armstrong.