Chris Lane 0

Cursive Writing Policy at Somersfield Academy, Bermuda

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We, the parents at Somersfield, respectfully request that cursive be the first form of writing taught in the Children's House.

There is growing and widespread research that supports cursive writing (including some very good examples to look at within Somersfield) and Somersfield can only gain from being ahead of the curve compared with other schools in Bermuda. Many countries in Europe and Asia are already teaching cursive first including Montessori schools we have spoken to across various European countries and in Asia. Rather than allowing only those children who have learning difficulties benefit from cursive handwriting at Somersfield, which results in them being singled out, why not allow all children to benefit?

We have so many positive results of cursive instruction to learn from even at our own school. Children with ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and severe learning difficulties have overcome their challenges when switched to cursive. Through parent discussion, we are unaware of any such similar results that Somersfield has seen through the print programme and in addition, there is no research suggesting that print has any of these acknowledged benefits to the brain. It simply doesn't make sense that Somersfield employs a method which has no additional development benefits while our children may potentially gain many developmental and cognitive benefits from learning cursive first.
Please consider being a leader in this important area.

Finally, we would like the school to host an information night having Janice Outerbridge taking us through the benefits of learning print before cursive followed by Maha Turner presenting her three year pilot study and setting out the benefits of cursive first as we feel we are all stakeholders in this school and would like to hear from the two sides in an open forum.

From one of many articles on cursive, this one entitled "Brain Research and Cursive":

…Furthermore, Rand Nelson of Peterson Directed Handwriting, believes that when children are exposed to cursive handwriting, changes occur in their brains that allow a child to overcome motor challenges. He says, the act of physically gripping a pen or pencil and practicing the swirls, curls and connections of cursive handwriting activates parts of the brain that lead to increased language fluency. That is, cursive writing ability affords us the opportunity to naturally train these fine motor skills by taking advantage of a child’s inability to fully control his fingers. This means cursive writing acts as a building block rather than as a stressor, providing a less strenuous learning experience.
Moreover, cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing, typing or keyboarding.
Therefore, it is no wonder that some boys experience such positive effects when they participate in a cursive writing program. In other words, a serious advantage as to why girls are about nine months ahead of boys in their linguistic skills (reading, writing etc.) is because the corpus collusum, the middle strip that separates our left and right brain hemispheres is larger in girls than in boys, which allows for a girl’s brain to crosstalk.
Essentially, a boy’s linguistic skills are more concentrated on the right side of the brain or the spatial, non-verbal and/or visual side, which is why boys have difficulty sequencing linguistic exercises, a necessary requirement for most beginning readers.

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