Tuesday, February 2014
Above: Hand-drawn illustrations and cursive handwriting are standards in a 4th grade block book.
In Waldorf schools throughout the world, students practice handwriting, blockletters or cursive every day as they write their curriculum into their hand-made block books. This quintessential Waldorf tradition meets many cognitive, physical and developmental needs in the growing child. While changing curriculum standards for many contemporary schools are replacing cursive lessons with keyboarding and digital literacy requirements, Waldorf schools continue a firm dedication to the value of children using their own hands to create self-made text books. A new article published in the March issue of Psychology Today Magazine supports the evidence that the process of learning cursive writing has many benefits for child development.
Subtitled "Cursive Writing Makes Kids Smarter," the article--written by William R. Klemm, D.V.M, Ph.D., a Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University--goes on to extoll the virtues of the physical manipulations and cognitive processing involved in learning how to, and writing in, cursive. This process is a translation and archiving of information that aids comprehension, memory, interpretational translation and other learning processes.
Here are a few representative excerpts from the article:
…scientists are discovering that learning cursive is an important tool for cognitive development, particularly in training the brain to learn “functional specialization,” that is capacity for optimal efficiency. In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking...
"…There is a whole field of research known as “haptics,” which includes the interactions of touch, hand movements, and brain function. Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual, and tactile information, and fine motor dexterity. School systems, driven by ill-informed ideologues and federal mandate, are becoming obsessed with testing knowledge at the expense of training kids to develop better capacity for acquiring knowledge.
The benefits to brain development are similar to what you get with learning to play a musical instrument. Not everybody can afford music lessons, but everybody has access to pencil and paper. Not everybody can afford a computer for their kids−maybe such kids are not as deprived as we would think....Cursive is not dead yet. Parents need to insist that cursive be maintained in their local school."
Here is the link to read the complete article:
Interested in reading more articles about Waldorf Education? Visit our Waldorf In the News media archive.