THE MECHANISM OF WRITING 259 the little hand which is now adult because it has fixed many move- ments, the painful, almost deforming, effort of turning back in the paths of its development. The hand of the child of six or seven years old has lost its precious period of sensitivity to movement. This delicate hand has left behind it the delightful time in which movements were being co-ordinated, in which is created the func- tional hand and it is condemned to a painful and unnatural effort. It is necessary to go further back and look for the baby hand •which is still unco-ordinated, still functionally 'soft'; it is the -enquiring little hand of the very small child of four who touches everything round about him, in the irresistible and unconscious .attempt to stabilize definite co-ordinations. ANALYSIS OF THE MOVEMENT OF A HAND WHICH is WRITING In order to help the teaching of writing, it is needful first of all to analyse the various movements which enter into it, and to try to develop them separately, in a manner independent of actual writing. In this way we will be able to suit various ages, each lhaving its own possibilities, co-operate in constructing that mechanism which is so difficult and complex. In the sense exercises, which are accompanied by fine move- ments of the hand and which interest the child so much that he is led to an indefinite repetition of the same actions, we will find the psychological time and the external means which are precisely adapted as .a remote preparation for the mechanism of writing. THE HAND WHICH WRITES One must be capable of holding in the fingers some instrument of writing (pen, pencil, etc.) and of guiding it with a light hand to draw definite symbols. Holding the instrument requires not only the work of the three fingers which grip it, but also the co-operation of the hand which has to travel lightly over the surface on which the writing is being <done.