A Grade 1 pre-handwriting programme to promote inclusive practices in the classroom
The South African Curriculum and Policy Statement (CAPS) document requires a pre-writing programme to be implemented before embarking on formal instruction of handwriting in Grade 1. Yet, an official pre-handwriting programme is not prescribed. Therefore, this study aimed to answer the question of what a South African-relevant pre-handwriting programme looks like that would speak to the handwriting development of Grade 1 learners within an inclusive setting. The researcher set out to compile and implement a pre-handwriting programme according to the needs of six schools in the sub-rural area of Mankweng, Limpopo Province. Factors that influence handwriting include psychomotor skills (such as laterality, directionality, and fine motor skills), affective skills (such as body image) and cognitive skills (such as visual discrimination and midline crossing). Handwriting difficulties is a universal phenomenon, yet handwriting instruction is important even in the digitised era of the 21st century. These factors were addressed in the pre-handwriting programme in an informal way that makes it possible for every learner to succeed. Data were generated by means of questionnaires, classroom observations, focus group discussions, field notes and photographic evidence. The results of this study show that a pre-handwriting programme can fill the void in the CAPS document and that Grade 1 learners in an inclusive setting can benefit from a six-week pre-handwriting programme. This pre-handwriting programme was compiled using inexpensive, everyday materials and fun activities that encourage full participation. Each section of the programme ended with an assessment criterion. These assessments can assist teachers with their decision to either support or refer learners experiencing difficulties in handwriting to occupational therapists (OTs).
- Education