Growing demands for Kindergarten students – how is decreasing movement opportunities hurting them and how can practicing handwriting help?
There is a growing awareness about the decrease in movement opportunities and increase in seated work that is required from our children starting at younger and younger ages. My own 5 year-old daughter comes home from Kindergarten with mounds of handwritten worksheets every day. While this appears to be beneficial in increasing educational gains….I can’t help but ask what is suffering?
Many people are demanding that movement is put back into the curriculum of pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms. Developmentally children enjoy moving their bodies to climb, crawl, jump, slide, hide, ride a bike, throw a ball.
Sure all of this movement is clearly fun for kids but how is it educationally beneficial?
All learning starts with the body. We learn concepts of top, over, under, around, up and down when we move our bodies to climb, crawl, jump, slide, ride a bike, throw a ball.
How is this important to learning once you have to sit at a desk and write answers on worksheets in Kindergarten? *Children are asked to provide handwritten responses for the majority of their school day - even in Kindergarten!
The directions are provided with statements such as – “put your name at the TOP”, “draw a circle AROUND the one that matches”, “start the letter at the TOP, move DOWN UNDER the line, come back UP”. All of these directions that require a written response require an understanding of a concept that is learned when children move.
If we take away the movement, we take away their opportunities to learn these concepts in a developmentally appropriate way. We then have to work harder to get them to learn it in a way that is not natural for them at this young age. This leads to “bad habits” in letter formation and poor handwriting that soon requires therapeutic invention.
Even if we understand this, how can we put movement back into the classroom when there is so much curriculum that teachers are responsible for? How can we teach letter formation to help children be prepared for Kindergarten worksheets in a way that is developmentally appropriate?
Connect Experience Write has a few solutions!
We offer a movement-based program that teaches foundational concepts AND letter formation. Children move their bodies to musical tones that simulate the letter they are learning to write. Each letter has large body movements, arm movements and finger movements (tabletop practice). This patented sequence allows the children to learn spatial concepts and practice handwriting by moving!
Check us out to help get your kids get moving and writing to increase their Kindergarten success (and beyond!)
Carrie Davis and Michele Parkins are occupational therapists and co-founders of CEW