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Daily exercises that will boost your learners' handwriting

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Getting your learners to write neatly and at a good tempo is a high priority for all Foundation Phase teachers.  In this blog I have listed some daily exercises that you - the teacher - can distribute to parents to do with their children during lockdown that will boost their children's handwriting and confidence to ensure the development of a neat handwriting. 

Neat handwriting, tempo of writing and endurance for writing relies heavily on the child's strength in his or her upper body.  It will pay great dividends if you ensure that your learners develop their shoulder, upper back and chest muscles. In today’s environment where our learners are not spending as much time outside climbing trees we see a real decline in their upper body strength.

You might well ask how you as a Foundation Phase teacher could develop upper body strength. You already have difficulty finding time to do the full curriculum?  

No worries, I have a list of daily exercises that your learners can do at home, while in lockdown, and that will hopefully offer some respite to parents too.

  • Ask your child to face a wall. This can be outside or inside your home. With their feet about 50 cm away from the wall, ask them to place their palms on the wall at shoulder height and push as hard as they can.  Hold the position for the count of five, relax. Repeat five times. The added benefit of this exercise is that your learners will be more calm and focused.
  • During the day, as part of a transition activity ask parents to instruct their child(ren) to place their hands on their heads and push down their heads.  They could pretend to try and push their heads into their bodies.  Again hold for 5 counts, relax. Repeat five times.  Again this will assist in creating better focus.
  • Pair yourself with your child and face each other while placing your palms against each other.  Now ask your child to push gently against your palms, not trying to push the other one over, but trying to maintain equilibrium.  Again maintain for five seconds, relax and repeat five times.  Apart from the benefit of building tolerance for this position in the upper body, you'll explore cooperation and how to work together with one another.
  • Ask your child to lay onto the floor (on their tummies) and instruct them to place their palms on the floor, under their shoulders.  Now ask them to gently straighten their arms, pushing up their upper body until their arms are straight.  It is of paramount importance that this should be done slowly and controlled.  Now they can relax and slowly go down again to obtain their starting position.  Make a note when your child struggles with this exercise and ask the Physical Education teacher once back in school to assist your child with more opportunities to build strength for good posture and sitting upright. 

If you can get parents and your learners to follow this regime of exercises for the duration of lockdown you'll be amazed at the results once back at school.

Not only will your learners have build up strength, stamina but generally a better posture too.  

Refer those that do not seem to show any progress to your support team to discuss how they can be referred for more intense input.

Once the learners have built their strength it is important to maintain their ability.  

I highly recommend that you incorporate these exercises in your weekly program and repeat them as often as 3 to 4 times a week. 


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Blogger Profiles

  • Heleen Johnson

    Heleen Johnson is an Occupational Therapist with over 35 years of experience in the field of Education. Read more here.

  • Karen Leigh Benkenstein

    Karen Leigh Benkenstein is a fully qualified Foundation Phase Teacher, specializing in Special Needs children. She has taught children with a variety of educational and emotional barriers. Read more here.

  • Rachel Carey

    Rachel Carey has been working as a children's Occupational Therapist for the past 10 years. she has worked in both special needs and mainstream settings with children with a range of challenges and difficulties. Read more here.

  • Carla Kuhlmey

    Carla Kuhlmey taught in the Foundation Phase for 12 years before discovering a passion for helping learners with specific difficulties. She is currently working at a well known KZN Prep school as the Academic Support Teacher. She has been supporting parents and children at the school for the past 5 years.  

  • Charmaine Kendal

    With over 40 years of teaching and management experience, Charmaine Kendal has a wealth of wisdom to offer teachers.  The valuable lessons she has learned in the classroom and as deputy principal have equipped her with the skills to mentor and guide newly qualified teachers as well as to support more experienced staff. She is a published author, publishing youth literature and contributing to a number of textbooks. Charmaine has lectured education at tertiary level and has designed learning modules for education students. 

  • Lee Louw

    Lee Louw is a qualified pre-primary teacher with more than 20 years of experience. She has taught children from age 3 up to 8 as well as lecturing adults. She combines her work with Educanda with teaching ECD at a college. She has written 4 textbooks and 2 lecturers’ guides in the Educare field.