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Development of emergent writing is encouraged from the Nursery. Emphasis is placed on correct letter formation in order to foster a legible handwriting style. There is a move towards a cursive style as individual abilities dictate

Handwriting movements

There are three main movements to handwriting:


Children begin by practising these on a large scale within Nursery and Reception by:

  • Swing arms - one arm, other arm, both arms together.
  • Sky writing.
  • Using large equipment and paper.

This progressed in to moving to writing on a smaller scale by:

  • Using chalk on an outdoor surface.
  • In sand, rice, salt or couscous placed in a tray,
  • In shaving foam on a table.
  • Old paintbrushes and bucket of water to paint on an outside wall.

Finally then to an even smaller scale using:

  • Felt tip pens.
  • Crayons.
  • Pencils.
  • Different colour and sizes of paper.

Boys are attracted to paper in the shape of vehicles and animals.
Children often want to write their name long before formal writing begins.
It is important to use the school handwriting style (see below)
It is important that children do not over learn incorrect movements,
All letters start on the line to aid joined handwriting.
Joined up handwriting helps with spelling patterns.

Develop a good pencil grip

It is important that your child develops a correct pencil grip.  Help them by:

  • Correcting them should they hold their pencil incorrectly.
  • Guide their hand to trace letter shapes (you can use the handwriting template below).
  • Do not push children to write a length if they cannot manipulate the pencils correctly.  This will be painful and can put them of writing.
  • Encourage drawing and putting detail on to their drawing - this is one of the best things you can do to encourage your child with writing.
  • Do not waste money buying handwriting books, as children enjoy colouring their own work and making patterns much more.

Developing into Key stage 1 

Letter and number formation is shown below


PDF iconHandwriting programme of study - Year 1

PDF iconHandwriting programme of study - Year 2