pre-writing skills, occupational therapy, wikki stix

Walk Before you Can Run | Pre-Writing Lines and Shapes

They say you can’t run before you can walk and I am certain that we all agree that this is true.  Just as true, is that children cannot learn to form letters and numbers before they have mastered the drawing of shapes.  And they cannot draw shapes before they are able to draw the component… Read more »


Fan Folding Download

This is the folding template to go with the Paper Rosette Hedgehog as shown in the video by Easy Peasy and Fun. Get your free downloadable fan folding sheet by entering your details in the form below:


The Perceptual-Motor Foundations of Handwriting | Handwriting Development

If a child is struggling with poor handwriting and is referred for an occupational therapy handwriting assessment, the outcome of the assessment can show very diverse difficulties.  This is because the perceptual-motor foundations of handwriting are numerous and complex.  Let’s look at The Wall®, an occupational therapy framework for explaining learning difficulties in children, and… Read more »


Which Pencil Grip? | The Start Right Pencil Grip

We know for sure that there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to remediating an incorrect pencil grip.  When do you use the Start Right Pencil Grip, when do you use the CLAW and when is the Stetro or Crossover the best?  Is there a checklist, a magic formula… Read more »


How Can we Turn the Tide of Declining Fine Motor Skills? | Fine Motor Skills for Preschoolers

It is well known by teachers in classrooms across this very diverse country that the standard of fine motor skills in our pre-schoolers are not where they should be.  Teachers are criticised for referring too many children to occupational therapy.  Occupational therapists are criticised for prolonged intervention for fine motor skills.  And parents?  Well, they… Read more »


What are Fine Motor Skills? | Fine Motor Skills Checklist

What are fine motor skills?  Fine motor skills are the small co-ordinated movements of the hands and fingers that make us as human beings special.  In some instances they are also called hand skills.  Fine motor skills enable the hands to perform refined manipulative tasks that foster independence, and enable us to become independent, functional… Read more »


Why I Never use Clothes Pegs as Finger Strengthening Exercises

Years ago, I had every conceivable type of clothes peg in my occupational therapy practise.  We made Lion King ones, Nemos, and of course, Disney Princesses for the girls.  We picked up jelly tots and every other imaginable item.  We were working on the-three-friends®.  For those of you who don’t know, the-three-friends – the thumb,… Read more »


There is little evidence that children will “catch” handwriting skills! | Teaching Handwriting

“There is little evidence that children will ‘catch’ handwriting skills!” (Steve Graham, 1999.)  I love this quote.  Handwriting is not like the flu.  You don’t catch it simply because you happen to spend time with those who are engaged in the activity.  You learn to become an efficient handwriter because handwriting is taught.  This begs… Read more »


The Journey from Scribbles to Handwriting | Pre-writing Skills Activities

Our children’s first works of art are random scribbles on a page.  Within a few short years these scribbles have been transformed into the beautifully crafted letters that make up handwriting. This is a critical scholastic milestone because handwriting is the foundation for story writing and composition.  Some children make the transition from scribbles seamlessly,… Read more »


Left Handed Handwriting | A Golden Nugget

Every teacher and every therapist has encountered a left handed child.  If you aren’t left handed yourself, you may wonder how to help and advise parents.  You want to ensure they end up with a well adjusted left hander, who masters handwriting with the same finesse as many of their right handed counterparts.  If you master… Read more »


The Stetro Song | Learn to Use the Stetro Pencil Grip

The Stetro Pencil Grip is your go-to beginner grip.  The cues will help your child to know exactly where to put their fingers and with a little practise with the song, will be well on their way!  Before you get stuck in with the song, please do be sure that you have the grip on the correct… Read more »


Ambidextrousness | Why One Hand is Better than Two

From time to time we hear of children who are ambidextrous.  This seems such an amazing thing – wow – imagine being able to write with both hands!  But is it really a good thing and when, if at all, should we intervene? Before I dive in and get into this fascinating topic, I need… Read more »


Get a Grip! But Which One? | The CLAW

What a Strange Name but Oh How Well they Work! The CLAW pencil grips with their unusual design is what makes them a fantastic pencil grip.  When I first heard of it and saw its name I thought I would never use it – it both looked and sounded strange!  After someone asked about them on… Read more »


The Secret’s Out!  Letter Formation Rules!

Letter Formation usually includes the ability to correctly form both letters and numbers.  Research has shown that good letter formation is a significant predictor of the mastery of good handwriting.  Looking at what is letter formation with this easy infographic from The Happy Handwriter will take you through the steps toward mastering letter and number… Read more »


Handwriting | Why is it so Important? | 6 Reasons by an Occupational Therapist. (Infographic)

Handwriting – should we still teach it?  Is it outdated in the techno age?  Perhaps we shouldn’t teach it in schools and save precious time for maths, reading, composition and story writing?  Occupational therapist, Bunty McDougall, author of The Happy Handwriter, explores the latest research on handwriting. This is a good Infographic to have on… Read more »


Fine Motor and Handwriting Workshop: Cape Town, September 2015

The Happy Handwriter is excited to present our upcoming 2 day Fine Motor and Handwriting workshop.  It will be held in Observatory, Cape Town on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th September 2015. The course is open to occupational therapists, teachers, schools, physiotherapists, psychologists and anyone interested in fine motor and handwriting development in children.  Looking forward to… Read more »


Pencil Control | 8 Steps to Improve it by an Occupational Therapist. (Infographic)

We all know what untidy, illegible handwriting looks like.  The quality of fine motor skills and pencil control are on the decline in our techno age where pre-schoolers are pointing and swiping, rather than engaging in the manipulative skills required for developing the hand muscles essential for controlling a pencil.  Occupational Therapist, Bunty McDougall, from The Happy… Read more »


Workshops 2015

Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control we have been forced to put our advertised 2015 workshops on hold.  We will keep you posted and let you know as soon as we are able to proceed with these. In the interim, please stay in touch with us regarding your interest in the workshops so we can… Read more »


The Pencil Project

Yesterday, during a Muscle Mania fine motor group in a Grade 1 classroom at a disadvantaged school, pencils took on a whole new meaning to me.  In fact, it was the absence of pencils.  Many of the children didn’t have pencils and some had pencils so small, that when they were writing, they were hidden… Read more »


CAPS and Handwriting workshop

With the transition to CAPS, our teachers have been overwhelmed with integrating all the changes in the curriculum.  To stimulate thought, and to look at how we can teach handwriting smarter so as to achieve the goal of efficient and legible handwriting, I will be running a workshop for teachers on “CAPS and Handwriting.”  It… Read more »