When I was a little girl, I had 3 spinster aunts that I loved and who loved me very much! They had a remarkable impact on my life. At the age of 4, one of my aunts prayed with me and led me to an understanding of the love of Christ and His forgiveness of my sin. She was a person who I wanted to pattern my life after…and she was a teacher. She was a great teacher. Through the years I have realized that, though I will never be the quiet spoken, calm, reserved woman she was, God still uses clay pots in His service…and I am a clay pot! It is a privilege to work with these precious children every day and an honor to work with their families.
I gleaned many things from my teacher aunts. They reminded me to never keep a class from recess…they really need the break from the teacher. They said to always remember that they are just kids and doing what kids to…so don’t be surprised! They told me to make the penalty fit the offense…and only penalize the one who needs it, not everyone else! And they reminded me to keep learning about my kids and what they need to develop into great 2nd graders! I’ve tried to follow those suggestions through the years.
As I think on what my 2nd graders need in their development, one particular topic which concerns me is the thought of discontinuing the teaching of cursive writing in the school. I am amazed at God’s design of the human body and mind. I have spent years with 7 and 8 year old children and it is always a joy to watch them reach certain benchmarks of their education. Recently I spoke with visiting parents as they noticed our 2nd graders practicing their cursive writing. They wondered why we still teach cursive when so many schools have decided that cursive is just a lost “art” and not needed for educational purposes. We chatted about how God has designed our brains in such a way that the path of the cursive letters and the crossing of the midline of the body helps make connections in the brain and causes pathways to be strengthened. Learning to write in cursive is a wonderful tool which increases cognitive development and trains the brain. Add to that the benefits for fine motor skills which must be integrated by practice, practice, and more practice! And to that, add another benefit that cursive writing and the movements of making the cursive letters could have for children who have symptoms of dyslexia. As I watch my little one’s critical thinking skills improve, I find that I agree with the research that supports cursive writing as a necessary study!
Some may think that writing in cursive is just an artsy class. But we know that the real beauty is the benefit to the brain. Just the way God meant it to be…
(The Benefits of Cursive Go Beyond Writing by Suzanne Baruch Asherson
10 Benefits of Cursive Writing. Source: Samuel L. Blumenfield, “How Should We Teach Our Children to Write? Cursive First, Print Later!”)