About the P.E.N.S. Program

The P.E.N.S. program is an innovative program that aims to preserve, teach, and nurture the use of cursive writing in elementary schools in Edmonton, Alberta and the surrounding area.

Over the course of several hours of instruction, students of any age and their teachers will be given instruction in both printing,cursive writing and lettering arts. The PENS program was developed at the request and suggestion of local parent groups and the Edmonton Arts Council..

Rationale for the P.E.N.S. Program

The P.E.N.S. program is designed to further enhance the education curriculum, to equip students with cursive and lettering arts skills that may be advantageous to them both personally and professionally over the course of their lives. Indeed, the benefits of a working knowledge of cursive writing and lettering arts are many!

Current MRI-based medical research shows that handwriting engages more quadrants of the brain than typing, and that brain engagement is even greater when one is creating new scripts.

Professionally, there is an increasing demand for and interest in penmanship and lettering arts, both in hobbyist and corporate settings.

Here are some interviews that were done on The Ryan Jespersen show regarding rationale on teaching cursive writing.

The P.E.N.S. Program Curriculum

The P.E.N.S. program follows the Getty-Dubay curriculum. It is a long-standing and successful program using the Italic handwriting model. Below is an exemplar from the Getty-Dubay program.

This Italic alphabet has fewer strokes in its letterforms.  This minimizes the number of shape changes in the transition from printing to cursive writing. Loops, curlicues and long entrance and exit strokes that often mask the letter shape are avoided. These added strokes can cause ambiguity in letter identification.

Continuity of letter shapes and slope are retained as the writer moves from basic italic print to cursive and therefore builds on previously learned concepts and muscle memory.

There are no mirror images in the letterforms which often cause reversals. These letterforms prove easier for dyslexic writers.

The elliptical shapes of these letters are suited to natural hand movements making them more compatible with learning ease and increased legibility.

This alphabet is not tool dependent. We begin with a simple lead pencil and then encourage writers to make their own personal choices of writing instruments. Modern ball point pens, gel pens or micro felt tipped markers often give very pleasing results.

We do not advocate the use of a dip pen (nostalgic) or specialized broad edge pens for learning the basic Cursive Italic alphabet.

However, our members are posed to mentor those who wish to learn about these tools and more challenging and decorative script and letters. At the monthly ECS meeting we feature a Learn to Letter segment and frequently host accomplished calligraphers to conduct workshops focused on calligraphic art.


Support the P.E.N.S. Program

Interested in supporting the P.E.N.S. program (donating supplies, exhibition space or funding; hiring calligraphers to deliver the program at your school; providing table space at your next event to allow us to promote the P.E.N.S. program; etc.)? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch with Jeanine at jeanine.t.alexander@gmail.com.

Bring the P.E.N.S. Program to Your School

Want to learn more about bringing the P.E.N.S. program to your school? Contact Jeanine at jeanine.t.alexander@gmail.com.