BY Karol Welburn
John W. Decas School (Wareham)
The purpose of the ‘Writing Readiness’ initiative will be to support all PK/K students and their classroom teachers by enhancing their access to tools and learning items that foster fine motor development. This is necessary for our PK/K students given the curricular standards and expectations to hold onto pencils during ELA instruction. Many PK/K friends do not have the musculature in their fingers and hands to allow them to hold onto writing tools. As a result poor habits arise. With financial support I will be able to purchase classroom items for students and teachers to access ‘writing readiness’ supports daily. Upon receipt of ‘writing readiness’ tools, I will provide teachers with a workshop so that they learn ‘why’ the specific tools are necessary to promote writing skills. Knowledge, pedagogy, and best developmental practices will be shared with all the PK/K teachers so that their scope of teaching is widened and the students grow in their skills.
How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Teachers who attend my workshop will be provided with a ‘Writing Readiness’ Kit housing a hand gym type exercise regimen including alternative pencils, finger exercisers, and strength training tools. Data will be taken on the percentage of PK/K students who have maladaptive versus functional grasps on writing tools. Struggling students will be given a number and an initial picture will be taken of his/her grasp reflective of the ‘pre’ instruction and exercise. Daily reinforcement will be expected and student progress will be monitored.
Benefit to the students and the school
We here at Decas have 15 classrooms in grades PK and K with a total of 257 young learners. Students entering school struggle to hold onto expected pencils in ELA and math. With this initiative, students and teachers will have access to knowledge, strategies, tools, and items to help improve ‘writing readiness’. This in turn enhances access to the curriculum, self-confidence, and independence.
Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
I will provide classroom teachers with a hands-on workshop as soon as funding is available and supplies are ordered. Classroom teachers who attend my ‘Writing Readiness’ will be recipients of this new initiative to support all learners.