Topic outline

  • The importance of encouraging physical development during lockdown

    Unfortunately, modern lifestyles are resulting in children of today being held back in their body strength / movement skills, which impacts on their ability to handwrite with fluency.    Babies in car seats, too long in front of screens, reduction in climbing trees and riding bikes are just some of the contributing factors.  What is important here, is that the nature of lockdown results in children having to be 'contained' and potentially leading an even more sedentary lifestyle than normal.  

    The good news is that physical development is perfect home learning - fun, wide range, family friendly, possible in confined spaces.  All schools need to do is ensure the parents understand that these activities are highly valuable and will continue to benefit children when they return to the classroom and avoid a deterioration in physical strengths. 

    'Automaticity is achieved through many varied physical experiences and repeated muscle movements'. (A Moving Child is a Learning Child, Gill Connell 2013).  Crawling, standing, walking, jumping, leaping, hopping, skipping and balancing are all examples of movement that once automated, free the child's mind to think ie movement unlocks the brain for learning.  In addition, if the demands of the physical movement required in holding a pencil takes up a low amount of cognitive load, then the mind is freed for creativity, imagination, accuracy in writing.

    • Document for parents full of ideas to develop and maintain physical strengths needed for handwriting

    • Teach Handwriting 

      This is an excellent website with a wealth of different activities to carry out at home which focus on the different strengths.  Instructions are easy to follow and provide fun games.

      Handwriting activities to develop letter formation are also available.  Ensure parents are aware which handwriting style is expected by the school at each age range.

      • Utilising lockdown time to improve touch typing skills

        Dance Mat Typing

        Crafting writing on a computer is such a valuable skill for children to learn.  We know writing outcomes tend to be stronger because they are more willing to edit and improve a piece that is word processed.  However, often teachers are reluctant to let children use this approach if they are slow at typing.  So why not use this period of home learning to encourage children to follow a typing course?

        KS2 Dance Mat Typing is a free online touch-typing programme for children in Key Stage 2. It has four levels which build on the previous learning and includes speed activities and rewards.