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  • Michael Garrett

Why Kids Should Work on Vertical Surfaces

In the old fashion days of blackboard and chalk, it was often the case that a pupil would be invited out to the front of the class during a chalk and talk lesson to complete a piece of work from the teacher. In more recent years, this has been replaced with interactive white and smart boards although usually still in the presence of the teacher whilst being watched by the rest of the class.

Whilst it could perhaps be argued this technique is not always in the best interest of the student in terms of developing self-confidence and esteem, there is proven evidence that the use of vertical surfaces for working remains an important part of childhood development.

In the nursery and reception years, occupational therapy has shown that the use of large vertical surfaces, such as a blackboard fixed at low level, allows children to use bigger arm movements that encourage strength and flexibility throughout the joints and muscles of the upper body. The hand also gets a boost of strengthening as it works against gravity to keep making vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. Vertical surface writing naturally puts the wrist in an extended position which encourages hand stabilisation for better pencil grip and control of writing utensils. It also improves hand-eye coordination and helps build inner core strength.

In the primary and secondary years, the use of vertical surfaces aids higher cognitive processes, problem solving, critical thinking and a growth mindset.

This will be achieved at mont21, by the provision of large accessible moveable vertical white boards and wipeable walls where students will be able to work independently or collaboratively using a selection of tools and sticky 'post-it' notes on different concepts and projects. There will also be interactive touch screens in each of the teaching pods as an additional tool for learning and for presentations.

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