Waukesha kids learning valuable skills at handwriting camp

NOW: Waukesha kids learning valuable skills at handwriting camp

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Students from the Waukesha area are getting one-on-one guidance in improving the fine motor skills needed to have good handwriting at Carroll University's Handwriting Camp.

"Children 4-8 in those early classrooms, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders who are learning to letter form, create words and put words into sentences," said April Phillips, an occupational therapist at Carroll University who coordinates this program.

This week, dozens of kids will be at Carrol University in Waukesha for the third year of their handwriting camp.

Phillips says what kids are learning here is critical, because everything from learning how to drive to critical thinking skills are downstream from writing.

"Children need to be able to handwrite, one to convey their interests, it also carries over into their need for math skills and reading skills. All of those things are integrated together," said Phillips.

While writing is one of the activities they do at the camp, there are many others. Each student is paired with an occupational therapy grad student from the university who can individually assess what a student needs to work on, like pinching skills to better hold a pencil, and develop fun activities that promote that motor skill.

"We get to see just where they're at with their handwriting to work with them to better their handwriting," said occupational therapy grad student Madi Martin.

David Beuhler, who works in graduate admissions at the university, has brought his kids -- Emma and Ethan -- to the camp for three years now.

He says it's fun for them but also there are real results.

"Some kids will come into the camp not being able to write their name at all, then by the end of the week, they can write their name start to finish," said Beuhler.

Phillips says in light of the Wisconsin legislature considering new rules that would call for 3rd graders to be held back if they aren't proficient in reading, she says the skills these kids are learning are more important than ever.

"If we're at the risk of delaying education for children that are not meeting or reading thresholds in the third grade, there's usually a reason why they're not meeting that threshold and nine times out of 10 it comes back related to one of the skills," said Phillips.

Enrollment for this program starts in April, and is only once a year.

There is a small material fee for students.

To learn more, CLICK HERE. 

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