Denver, CO – April 28, 2017 - It’s no secret that a growing number of elementary schools throughout Colorado and the nation have deleted cursive instruction from their curriculum because it is a skill that is no longer required by the Common Core State Standards. Instead, once children have “mastered” their printing, teaching keyboarding in schools takes precedence and the finer skill and art of handwriting beyond basic printing, known as cursive, is considered by many schools as archaic and unnecessary.
But credible neuroscience studies continue to affirm the many benefits of learning cursive for a child’s brain development and overall literacy. Learning and practicing cursive helps promote reading and motor skills, spelling, memory retention, generating ideas, imagination, reflection, focus, and more. And one would be hard-pressed to find a parent or grandparent who says less focus on nice handwriting and eliminating cursive in schools is a good thing. Arguments against the long-range ramifications of removing cursive from a child’s educational repertoire are partially underway and some states are realizing the negative impact sooner than later. For example, Tennessee has recently made cursive compulsory again in their schools.
But while many Colorado schools and teachers continue to drive the decision to press the delete button on cursive instruction, and students are not even aware of what they are missing, parents of elementary school children in large part are not at all happy about this movement. Yet, there is really nothing parents can do about it except adopt an attitude of acceptance or resolve to teach cursive to their children themselves, which is clearly not a realistic expectation or inclination for most parents.
When Suzanne Bowland of Denver learned that her third-grade son would not be taught cursive handwriting this year at his Denver Public School, she was shocked and disappointed, a response not unlike other parents in her circle and the community in general. After months of a “slow burn” in her mind and guided by a belief that it is simply not wise and shortsighted for schools not to expose children to cursive despite the seemingly overriding importance placed on keyboarding in the digital age, she decided to take matters into her own hands, literally.
Bowland grew up in Arvada and attended a Jefferson County elementary school. She fondly reminisces about the rigorous cursive instruction she received. She fell in love with handwriting and shared her passion for cursive with her other classmates, who in a friendly, competitive kind of way, took it delightfully seriously and vied against one another to have the “prettiest” cursive in class. While most adults don’t share her fondness for learning cursive and practicing it with passion throughout her life, Bowland has long developed a mastery of cursive on her own accord that has enabled her to develop her own signature cursive instruction system for teaching young children.
“I was unimpressed with many of the cursive books and cursory teaching models available on the market and I knew that I could do a better job of it for my son. When I started to teach him how to form letters in cursive, it dawned on me that my talent and understanding of handwriting and cursive in particular should be put to excellent use and could be structured in a new way based on creating unique teaching templates, guidelines, and fun exercises around a specific theme,” says Bowland. “One thing led to another and I realized I was creating something that could and should be shared with other children in an after-school and summer camp enrichment program format.” So, a serial entrepreneur by trade, Bowland started undertaking the logistics of creating her own instructional program to be held at various venues around the Denver metro area this summer and fall that parents would want to send their children to on a registration basis. Thus, Cookies and Cursive ™: Mindful and Artistic Handwriting for the 21st Century Child was born to help fill the current cursive gap and give parents a worthwhile option to expose their children to this valuable art form.
Cookies and Cursive ™ introduces children to the delights of the traditional American cursive handwriting style through a fun and engaging learning approach linked to the language of baking. Children are invited to discover the power of their handwriting and become cursive chefs! Children will learn how to read cursive and begin learning how to properly form letters, write words, sentences, and paragraphs in cursive through creative tools, visuals, activities, and personalized projects. Writing one’s signature and expressing gratitude through thank you notes in cursive are also focused on in this camp.
Bowland will launch her first Cookies and Cursive™ enrichment summer camp at the Koebel Library in Centennial located at 5955 S. Holly Street. The 8-day camp will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on June 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and 29. Space is limited and registration in advance is required. The cost is $192 per child. A 10% discount will be honored for more than one child registration per family. Instruction is designed for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. Take-home practice templates are a key component of this enrichment program. For additional information, other locations, and to register, please call Suzanne Bowland at 720-684-8119.