The Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) program is part of the Rise School curriculum. All of the classrooms use parts of the curriculum depending on the developmental level of the students. This program was developed by an occupational therapist and uses developmentally appropriate lessons that break difficult concepts into simple tasks. When you think of a “handwriting program,” you may automatically think of learning how to write letters and numbers and names. This, of course, is part of HWT; however, there are many very important developmental skills that this program addresses BEFORE a child begins to write his name. The HWT program that is mainly used at Rise is “Get Set For School.” This program uses music, movement, and multisensory manipulatives to teach all the core readiness skills including pencil grasp, letter and number recognition, number and capital letter formation, and body awareness.
Principles of the HWT program that may be different than other early education handwriting programs:
· HWT teaches how to write all the uppercase letters first because uppercase letters are the easiest letters to write, developmentally speaking; uppercase letters are easy to recognize; uppercase letters are the same height; uppercase letters all start at the top.
· HWT emphasizes correct pencil grasp and use of the helper hand.
· HWT teaches starting at the top and progressing left to right for all writing tasks.
· HWT uses visual cues for all pre- writing and writing activities.
· HWT includes manipulatives, such as the wood pieces, to help early learners develop body awareness and learn letter formation.
If you have questions about what HWT activities are happening in your child’s classroom, please feel free to ask the teacher or Lynn. HWT materials are easily accessible on their website (www.hwtears.com) for parents and teachers.
Best of all, Handwriting Without Tears is a FUN way for your child to enter the exciting world of handwriting!
- Lynn Vosbeek, OTR