Home Elementary Education From Great Principals to Stellar Handwriting Instructors, Giving Thanks for Excellent Educational Experiences

From Great Principals to Stellar Handwriting Instructors, Giving Thanks for Excellent Educational Experiences

by Margaret Brown
Teacher checking students handwriting

This is a week to be thankful for so many things, including our educators. From principals to occupational therapists to handwriting instructors, these men and women put children first and strive to provide them with excellent educational experiences and environments. In this roundup, we learn from Principal Erin Leonard of Wakefield School in Virginia, Christina Bretz of Learning Without Tears, and Diane Elridge, RN, COTA:

National Principals Month: Meet Erin Leonard, Head of Lower School at Wakefield School

During October, we celebrated National Principals Month by talking to principals across the country about the role today and how it has changed. One of the principals we talked with was Erin Leonard, Head of Lower School at Wakefield School in The Plains, Virginia. She started her career as a first-grade teacher in the York County School Division in Virginia and has held a variety of different teaching positions. Leonard chose a career in education, because of the impact she could have on children’s lives. “Children’s curiosity and positivity is something to be treasured and to be entrusted with nurturing and caring for them daily is a great honor. But I also really enjoy working with parents as well to help them through the joys and struggles of raising their children. Developing those relationships and building and being part of a community is what makes being an educator so special.” Read our interview with Leonard here.

Handwriting Improves Academic Performance; Success Requires Balance of Keyboarding and Handwriting

In 2012, the Common Core Curriculum did away with handwriting instruction in American schools, but just six years later, it is back in the curriculum in at least 15 states. Why? One article suggests that “proponents of penmanship say writing words in an unbroken line of swooshing i’s and three-humped m’s is a faster, easier way of taking notes. Others point out that students should be able to understand documents written in cursive, especially when getting a letter from grandma.” However, more importantly, handwriting improves academic performance in all subjects, from science to math, reading and social studies, according to Christina Bretz, handwriting expert with Learning Without Tears; and creating solid, life-long learners requires a balance of keyboarding and handwriting in today’s classroom. “Kids are on computers, and, yes, there is a lot of technology in the classroom today. There also is, however, a lot of paper and pencil work taking place every day in classrooms,” Bretz explained. Read the article here. 

Get a Grip: Laying the Foundations of Handwriting Success

Laying the foundations of handwriting success is one of the most important parts of early childhood education. But how do you ensure that you’re teaching early learners to grip a pencil or pen in a way that will help them become successful hand writers? This is a topic that’s near and dear to the heart of Diane Eldridge, RN, COTA, whose career has focused on helping children of all ability and grade levels to achieve success in writing readiness, as well as printing and cursive handwriting skills. She shares her insight about what strategies work to lay the foundations for handwriting success, as well as best practices for identifying and remediating poor grip, in a webinar for Pre-K through 2nd Grade educators about how to teach and remediate grip. Learn more about the webinar and supporting materials here.

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