- Why is Handwriting Still Important?
- About The System
- Fine Motor Skills
- Handwriting and Letter Formation
- Muscle Mania®
Muggle the monkey, and Harry the elephant, are the heroes of the Muscle Mania programme – a fine motor classroom programme. The programme was developed by occupational therapist, Bunty McDougall, who has a special interest in fine motor, pre-handwriting and handwriting skills. This means that each of the ready-to-go lesson plans have been developed by a skilled clinician who understands that children learn while they are having fun. With Muscle Mania, you have your own detailed fine motor curriculum on hand. The programme runs on a twice-weekly basis for the duration of the Grade R year; and twice-weekly for 9 months at the Grade 00 level. Muscle Mania is the ultimate fine motor classroom curriculum!
Even if you already have a wide range of fine motor opportunities in your classroom, our techno kids need the more directly targeted input that is offered by Muscle Mania. It has a fine balance between specific muscle strengthening and applied functional fine motor skills. Even if it has reproducible activity sheets, it is not a worksheet-based programme! Every worksheet is cut up, torn up, crumpled, and otherwise manipulated, to ensure that optimal fine motor muscle development is derived from each and every one of the activity sheets. This is not your traditional dot-to-dot, draw a line from the mouse to the cheese programme!
Fine Motor Skills for Preschoolers: Lesson Plans
The groups were first run in this format in 2008. This fine motor classroom programme was trialled for 7 years before publication. The groups have run in classrooms across the diverse spectrum of the South African context. The improvements in the children’s skills following exposure to the Muscle Mania® programme have been unprecedented. Improvements in skill levels following implementation of the programme has resulted in Muscle Mania forming an integral part of the school readiness process in these schools. While they typically run in classes of around 24 children, the groups have been run highly successfully in classrooms of up to 45 children.
Graded Fine Motor Classroom Programme
Muscle Mania® works because it is a graded programme that builds, develops, and extends fine motor skills consistently over the school year. It has its own special three r’s! Firstly, it works because it is relevant. All the activities are highly engaging and child friendly, and engaged children improve their skills. The second secret to its success, is that it is repetitive. But not repetitive in the boring way! The skills are introduced and mastered. They are then revisited in an upgraded form that requires the children to build on previously learned skills. So, throughout the year, the skills are repeated in a different and more challenging form. And the last r is regular. The lessons plans are ready-to-go so you will be able to stick to the twice weekly routine without the stress, fuss and bother of worrying what to do next. And when you apply it regularly, the children’s skills improve. Simple as that!
Look what happened with 41 children who attended the Muscle Mania programme twice weekly for a year! The class average for fine motor skills at the start of the year was 46%, and by the end of the year, 66%.*
Fine Motor Preschool Lesson Plans
All the activities are process orientated with a specific skill being the focus of each lesson. Because you are clear about the goal for the lesson, you know what to focus on with the children. And by focusing on that particular skill, you are able to support the children’s skill development in a targeted way. New skills are consolidated over a few lessons, before the next skill is introduced. They are then re-visited later throughout the year on a more advanced level. Muscle development, perceptual skills and fine motor pencil control are addressed. Letter formation, consistent with CAPS curriculum requirements, is addressed in the Grade R programme.
Reviews of the Muscle Mania Fine Motor Classroom Programme
I cannot recommend Stef Conradie and the Muscle Mania program enough. It was the first ‘extra mural’ we signed up for and it was a ‘non negotiable’ – all other extra murals had to fit in around it. We have been very impressed with the progress our son has made in this class. His fine motor skills have improved dramatically and he has developed a love of cutting and colouring in bordering on obsession. His class teacher is also very enthusiastic about his progress. I have already recommended this program to many parents and teachers.
Taryn , Mother of Connor , Little Bosch 2017, Yellow Class
The Muscle Mania program is a fun, age appropriate program that makes learning to write fun. I highly recommend the program to start as early as possible to strengthen those little fingers and hands and to learn the foundation for correct letter formation. I have seen the principals taught by Muggles in our home and these principals have been shared with siblings that were not fortunate to attend the course. The facilitators were fun and energetic and kept the children enthralled with every class. Thank you to Lourdes Bruwer for a fantastic course.
Sharryn, mom of Taylor, CBC 2018
Haai maar die tannie maak derem die mooiste goedjies!
The lady who wrote this book just thinks up the prettiest things!
7 year old girl attending occupational therapy in Malmesbury.
*This was a study undertaken on functional output skills, not on standardised assessment. Each of the 12 areas assessed were scored on a 7 point scale, consistent with the CAPS curriculum scoring system.