We have had the privilege of running The Happy Handwriter’s Muscle Mania™ programme, developed by Occupational Therapist Bunty McDougall, at Westlake Primary School since 2012. Funding is needed for this program.
Two of our Occupational Therapists run these fine motor groups, with the help from our assistants, twice weekly. The class teachers have found the running of the program highly successful and have reported significant carry-over of skills into the learners’ schoolwork as well as improved confidence in the learners. The children at Westlake Primary look forward to the Muscle Mania™ lessons and enjoy the activities, which encourage even the least motivated of learners to participate.
Below is a recent letter written by the Foundation Phase Head of Department, who is also a Grade 1 teacher at Westlake Primary.
“I am writing this letter with great enthusiasm and gratitude. I have had the pleasure of interacting with the occupational therapists and the OT programme in my grade 1 class and have found the results to be amazing.
The majority of my learners started grade 1 with under developed fine motor skills, this was evident in their pencil grip, handwriting and posture when sitting at their tables. After the first term all 3 class teachers found a marked improvement in the learners cutting skills, handwriting and even in the completion of tasks. The children had started to develop their hand muscles which improved the speed at which they were able to complete tasks.
The programme works in conjunction with our curriculum and I find that the phonic sounds are reinforced during the OT sessions. The learners relate to the character and stories told and often retell the stories when doing phonics in our English lesson time.
It is now in the 4th term that we can see the fruits of our labour; our children are able to produce work of a high standard because the teachers are able to focus on the curriculum and build on the methods and techniques taught by the occupational therapist.
I find the staff to be extremely professional and have made themselves at home at Westlake primary school. The children absolutely love the sessions and are 100% focused on the tasks they are given.
I can only hope that the programme will continue next year for the benefit of the learners at Westlake Primary school.”
For us, as Occupational Therapists, it has been a privilege to be part of each child’s journey at Westlake Primary as they have developed critical handwriting skills. We thank our sponsor, the Ackerman Family Foundation, as well as the teachers at Westlake Primary for this opportunity and belief in the programme.
Education is the foundation for the future of this country. Equipping children with the life-skill of handwriting is one of the corner stones of education. Barriers to learning in the early phases can hamper the acquisition of this skill, placing children at risk for long-term scholastic difficulties.
As a practice, our vision is to make Occupational Therapy accessible to other underprivileged settings, and we hope to do this by running Muscle Mania™ and similar groups at other schools in less advantaged areas.
Should you be interested in becoming involved in this opportunity of equipping children with key foundational skills required for learning and want to be involved in this project or similar projects, by assisting with future funding, please contact us on 021- 701 3314, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are currently looking for funding to ensure the continuation of this programme in. Please contact us should you be interested in assisting us in this regard.