At St. Julian’s Primary School, we aim for our children to leave in Year 6 with the ability to write using their own style of fast, fluent, legible and sustainable handwriting, as well as other styles of writing for specific purposes. In addition to teaching handwriting during our regular handwriting lessons, we have high expectations that what is taught and practised in handwriting lessons will be used in all writing activities. We believe that handwriting is integral to a child’s personal development and know that children’s engagement and self-esteem can be improved by their satisfaction and pride in good quality presentation.

Stages of Development – Pen/Pencil Grip

  • Stage 1 - Whole-hand grasp: using a fisted hand

    This is typically how children hold a pencil/pen/crayon at 1-2 years old. They use most of their upper body muscles and movement comes mainly from the shoulder with the arm moving as a unit.
  • Stage 2 - Beginning to use the fingers: no longer using whole-hand grasp

    At 2–3 years old children begin to use the forearm to control the pen/pencil/crayon. Movement is still quite stiff but there may be some wrist movement.
  • Stage 3 - Holds pencil between thumb and two fingers

    By the age of around 3–4 years old, children begin to show the crude beginnings of the tripod grip. The hand tends to move as a unit, with limited wrist movement. Children at this stage need more experiences that will strengthen their muscles (cutting, working with dough etc.) to develop fine motor skills and increase readiness for a precision pen hold.
  • Stage 4 - Moving towards the tripod grip.

    At the age of around 4–6 years old, we expect pupils to be holding their pencil near the point between first two fingers and thumb and use it with good control. They now begin to use their fingers and wrist to control movement of the pencil, holding it at a slight angle. They begin to move to a comfortable and efficient tripod grip: a precise three-way or tripod use of thumb, index and middle fingers.

What We Expect

Letter Formation

Other Information for Parents

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