“Hand·writ·ing: 1. writing done with pen or pencil in the hand; script. 2. A style or manner of writing by hand, esp. that which characterizes a particular person; penmanship.”
In today’s world, many people have chosen to forgo handwriting (cursive) altogether because we are so surrounded by print, print is standardized (everyone can read it), etc. But this is a mistake. We are surrounded by print because of the beginnings of the loss of handwriting; standardization of print only detracts from individuality. Group cohesion within a society is excellent, however each person must be an established individual in order to contribute the greatest amount to group dynamics. The number of font choices available in computer writing programs testifies to the need for expressing individuality. The issue of handwriting is only a sign of the times, rather than the deep-seated issue itself, however the issue can become a heated discussion among educators and parents.
Dr. Montessori has encouraged the use of cursive from some of her earliest work with special needs children, finding that curved lines are easier for the child, not because of the child’s experience with a curved horizon as Seguin and Itard put forth, but because curved connected lines are truly easier and more natural for the child:
“the straight line (of print) is unique in that it follows the shortest distance between two points. Every variation from this means that a line is not straight. The countless variations are therefore easier to make than the single stroke which is the standard of perfection.”
Dr. Montessori describes children tracing curved, connecting lines and loops in the sand with a stick, and the artwork and scribbles of the youngest children of then and today still testifies to the fact of curved connected lines being easier for the child to recreate.
She also describes how children with weak hands will tire after drawing a row of straight lines and the straight lines look more and more like the letter c by the end of the line.