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Cursive writing, handwriting and EYFS: what you need to know

Writing in the EYFS: what you need to know. Handwriting is not specifically mentioned in the EYFS.

The three pages in this section help to present the evidence for NOT teaching cursive or joined up writing in the early years.

The EYFS statutory requirements (2017) do not specify anything about handwriting, nor do they mention the word itself. The Development Matters guidance covers writing (but not specifically handwriting or cursive and joined up writing) in both prime and specific learning areas of physical development and literacy but stresses that all learning is interconnected and learning must be developmentally appropriate for each child. 

Interestingly, information in the public domain about early years and cursive writing is quite limited. This could perhaps be because until recently no one thought about teaching it until after age 6 or over. It is only now that we are looking for research evidence in this area because teachers are having to argue against doing it, or foundation stage classes are having it imposed on them. 

There is however much information on the pedagogy of early years writing and early years environments to promote literacy and this is what we can focus on in early education for breadth and readiness preparing motivated writers of the future. If you are a member and have read our most recent newseltter (March 2017) you will recall the inspiring interview link with Shirley Hughes and Judith Kerr answering the question "When did you first feel yourself a writer?". This is such a powerful and searching question to reflect upon. Let us preserve early years pedagogy and keep the early push for cursive and joined up writing in context, avoiding it wherever possible so that our children might feel themselves a writer first and foremost with energy, creative ideas and unlimited potential.

Meanings of terms used in these pages

  • writing: the activity or skill of writing
  • handwriting: using a pen or pencil to write, a person's particular style of writing
  • cursive writing: has lead-ins (entry strokes or 'whooshes') before the letter and exit flicks after the letter
  • pre-cursive writing: has exit flicks only
  • joined up writing: joining all letters in a word together using the lead-ins and exit flicks, keeping pen or pencil on the page; can be a quicker form of writing (also called cursive joined, fully cursive or continuous cursive)

The information we have compiled in this section has been sourced from the public domain and contains content and advice from Associates (including Julie Cigman). This is a work in progress. As teachers we are researchers too and we will continue to seek and find new sources to add to these pages. Do join us in this journey.

The 3 pages in this section are full of resources, links and references for more information and evidence to support your practice and pedagogy. They are in 3 parts

The content in these pages is for our members. If you would like more information on the many benefits of becoming a member please go to this link. We would love to welcome you as a member to our organisation!

If you would like to find out more about our pedagogical content, have further information, or are looking for training about writing, handwriting or early education principles, please look on this website or contact our pedagogic lead. 

You can also read our blog on cursive writing