Multisensory Handwriting Submitted by: Miss Lamb
In the fall, preschool students were introduced to our new curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears. It is a developmentally appropriate, research-based curriculum that focuses on key domains, such as readiness, drawing, alphabet knowledge, colors & coloring, pre-writing, counting & numbers, and writing lowercase letters. These materials, concepts, and activities are planned strategically to be incorporated into our play-based program. Our students’ first experiences with HWT included wood pieces, also known as lines and curves, and becoming familiar with those pieces through song play. The line and curve wood pieces are used to build the letters in the alphabet, and facilitate student’s learning of size, shape, and position concepts through teacher-directed activities.
As preschoolers became more familiar with the wood pieces and gained knowledge of each letter, more activities and materials were introduced. In small groups, students were guided by Miss Lamb and Miss Formanek through the steps to build a capital letter with wood pieces, then introduced to the Wet-Dry-Try method on a slate chalkboard. This provided writing practice opportunities through a multi-sensory experience. Students follow the written, capital letter with a small, wet sponge using a tripod grasp. They then follow the same lines and curves to dry the board with a small paper towel using the same grip. Finally, they will follow the lines once more with a small piece of chalk.
As a letter review, the whole class used small, skinny crayons, referred to as “Magic Crayons” in Miss Lamb’s class, to trace and copy a letter at the end of the week. Students are guided in the large group setting to review the steps and pieces necessary to create that letter, and have also experienced other multi-sensory opportunities during centers play and Clear Touch activities.
Other materials provided for learning include roll-a-dough trays, in which preschool students roll out play dough in follow a template set in side a small tray to create a capital letter.
The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum has increased students’ vocabulary, facilitated connections to concepts such as math and literacy, and provided a sequence that is developmentally appropriate for students to learn.
The sequence began with drawing and tracing lines, a cross shape, Capital L, square, and introducing “Frog Jump” letters (F and E). Capital letters are taught first because they are the same size, have the same starting point (at the top), and take up the same amount of vertical space.
During the remaining months of our school year, preschool students will continue learning to write each of the letters in the alphabet and numbers 1-10, along with their learning focuses and play-based experiences.