AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS PAGE

 

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10-12% of the population is left-handed.  Studies have shown that this proportion is increasing as the converted older population disappears and the younger population, who have been supported, flourishes.  Estimates show that the left-handed population should increase to 15% over time.

This means that 3 or 4 students in every classroom are left-handed.  Are you ready?

 

Gone are the days (thankfully) where schools would change the handedness of a student in order to have them conform to the “norm”.
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Left-handedness is as normal as the colour of our eyes or the number of toes on our feet, except that it is a manner of doing things and not something that is clearly defined at times.  The brain’s natural communication pathways and control centres tell that child to use their left hand when picking up a pencil to draw.  Changing the hand can lead to complex and challenging communication difficulties including impaired thought processes and stuttering.  And not every child can solve their own problems.  So, we need to help each child identify their handedness and then help them to build and strengthen their natural abilities in order to flourish.

But how do we support a left-handed child in their learning?

 

Let’s have a look at a few specific topics:

 

Left-Handed Child’s Growth and Milestones

We created the Parent’s Page to assist right-handed parents trying to help their left-handed children as they progressed through their developmental milestones.  But the information is just as relevant for teachers and early childhood professionals as it is for parents.

As you will see, the child starts to identify and define their handedness well before they commence school but may still experience confusion well into their school years.  The child needs to be supported with simple actions during this time with observation of a few simple activities as key to their development.

Click here to go to the Parent’s Page

 

Left-Handed Handwriting

Yes, we live in a digital age: computers, tablets and phones are everywhere.  But writing is still used every day as a method of communication.  Illegible handwriting leads to miscommunication and lost messaging.

Handwriting is one of the most complex skills that a child will learn in their early years.  Early techniques and habits will carry through for the rest of the child’s life.  Studies show that writing is superior to computing for memory retention and recollection.  But poor techniques learned early will leave the student focused on their writing efforts and lettering but not on the content so any benefits are lost.

Here is an interesting article recently published by The Conversation.  Left-handed or right-handed, it is still important.

Let’s change our thinking and focus more on legibility and comfort, and less on style and fonts!

We encourage all teachers and early childhood professionals to have a look at the information provided and take some of these tips to the children in their care.  Simple changes can stop a child spending a lot of effort obtaining poor results and developing no interest, or even a dislike, in writing.  When there are legible results with little effort, the child can develop a love of writing and can communicate well with others.  And the study benefits in later school and tertiary years will happen!

Visit our Left-Handed Writing page for information and tips when helping a left-handed child with their writing.

Visit our Handwriting Skills products page to see books, mats and other devices that can assist teachers and help students develop a sound, comfortable writing technique.

 

Classroom Positioning

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Where a child sits in the classroom can have a great effect on their learning.  Battling elbows with a right-handed student can always be resolved by sitting the left-hander on the left and the right-hander on the right.
But those auditorium chairs with the foldaway tables (usually a problem for high school and university students) are a huge problem for left-handers, who need to twist and work awkwardly because they are in the wrong type of seat.

Left-handed children benefit from sitting towards the left of centre in the classroom when looking at the whiteboard or similar.  Left-handers generally process things graphically, not digitally, so removal of “distortions” in their view will benefit them greatly.  Consider having left-handers placed near each other so that they can offer peer support, and it can also help you to focus on the needs of this small group in the class.

 

Left-Handed Scissors and Crafts

Ask any tradesperson and they will tell you to always use the correct tool for the job.  It is no different for a left-handed child.  They need to use the correct item with the correct technique for the task at hand to obtain the best results.

Ensure that left-handed scissors are available for every left-handed child.  There is a BIG difference in function and results!  Learn more about left-handed scissors here.

Some left-handed children may need assistance with the use of left-handed pencil sharpeners and left-handed rulers.

In Art & Craft classes, ensure that the stocks and palette are on the other side of the easel or workspace.  And remember that brush strokes will go the other way for a lefty.

Sports activities need to consider left-handed and mixed-handed children in the activity and the equipment provided.  Injuries can happen when compromises are made with equipment.

 

Change is Underway!

Lefty’s is leading a quest to improve the skills of our teachers and early childhood educators.  Most were not taught about handedness or teaching left-handed students when they were at university.  But they are expected to be skilled in this when they graduate and enter the classroom!

We made a submission to the federal Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System in August 2023.

                                                          

 

Left-Handed Children – A Guide for Teachers and Parents Video Package

This interactive training video for teachers and parents is designed to help you understand the key struggles a left-handed child may encounter.
It will give the child the necessary skills to flourish and give them an equal opportunity to achieve their full academic and life potential.

Click on the picture to learn more!

Watch the promotional video on our YouTube Channel!

 

Support Posters

                                             

These great A3 posters are available for schools to purchase to inform and reinforce the techniques that will assist left-handed students.

Click on the pictures to learn more!

 


 

All schools can obtain a 10% discount on all Lefty’s purchases – including Specials!

Don’t purchase online and pay by card at standard pricing!

Log in with your school account, order on an official school purchase order and we will send the products on a 7-Day Credit Invoice along with the discounted prices. 

Standard postage charges apply and this offer is available to Australian delivery addresses only.  Please Contact Us to receive your start-up login information.

Click here to see the wide range of items that are suitable for students in the classroom!

 


 

If there are any other topics you would like us to add to this page, please send your suggestions to asklefty@leftys.com.au