My DS will be going to a preschool in the fall (he'll be almost 3.5 by then) and in the info package they sent, there was a sheet outlining what the curriculum is like for the 3 year old class and Handwriting Without Tears was listed. I'm wondering if anyone with experience with this program could tell me what that would look like for a 3 year old?
I've used it in preschool. It's "pre-writing" at the preschool level. They use long and short sticks along with small and large curves. They learn how to use those items to make "mat man," shapes and letters. They sing songs and play direction following games. They roll playdough out into snakes and then shape into letters. They use magnadoodle type boards with magnetic wood pieces in long lines, short lines and curves which can be put together to make shapes and letters on the magnadoodle.Those that are ready to write, of course, can use pencil and paper.
Basically, it's getting preschoolers both familiar with letters AND the shapes used to form them. I used them with 2 to 5 year olds and they really love the materials and it's very low pressure.
DS1's preschool used this, and so does his kindergarten.
I didn't get to see it in action in preschool, but I did see him bring home "Mat Man" drawings, in a booklet for the year. :) I did see little worksheets they did, I think they saved these for the 5 year olds, though they would not have *refused* it to a younger child. It's pretty basic, the handwriting sheet lines and a model letter, spot to trace, spaces to write.
In kindergarten, at the beginning of this year, I was there for the introduction of a couple of letters. They used the sticks to make the letters. I don't know if this game is part of the Handwriting without Tears or just plain fun, but the children themselves would lay on the floor to make the letters, like old-school Sesame Street. :)
Then, because it's kindy I guess, they'd go and complete the letter's page in their "handwriting books".
It seems to be a pretty fun, low-key way to introduce writing that can progress with the kids as they get older.
I would HOPE for 3 year olds it would mostly stay with the sticks, playdough, experimenting with letter shapes...and that "writing" would still consist of experimenting with pencil and paper without the expectation of reproducing a particular letter or word... :)
lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
I'll echo what others said. I think it's fine (the early stuff) and not academic. Just keep an eye on it to make sure they don't move ahead, which is unlikely.
I had my son learn handwriting from a HWT specialist when he was in 3rd grade. He never learned it correctly (I wish our schools started it in K or sooner and it was part of the curriculum) and in 3rd grade, he started getting dinged for it! How unfair.
It was a lot of money, but within 3-4 months, he was writing perfectly and now, 5th grade still does. He felt more self confident and his writing actually improved. Their research backs this. WHen the print improves, the writing just flows easily. By the end of 3rd grade, he was acknowledged publicly as a good writer, which was nice.
5.5 - girl
Thanks, ladies. It actually sounds really good. I checked out their website as well and it looked very interesting and like something my son will enjoy. I was speaking with some friends IRL about it as well and many use it in homeschooling and apparently our local elementary school uses it as well