Postcard project saving the art of handwriting

Kiwi kids are being encouraged to put pen to paper in an age dominated by digital devices.

Almost 100,000 students around the country have taken part in 'Get New Zealand Writing', run by Warehouse Stationery, is a pen-pal-like programme where children send postcards to children in other classrooms around the country.

"The children have something physical in their hand to send and when they receive their packages back - they've been coming into the office and asking us, 'Is the mail here yet?'," Conifer Grove School Principal Jan Robertson told Newshub.

She says it's also giving children a fun reason for writing.

"I've taught kids over the years that switch off to writing, but if they're writing about something they love, then you've got them hooked."

While the school embraces technology, Ms Robertson also acknowledges the importance of handwriting, and admits technology can have an impact on a child's handwriting.

"It's really important for them to have a mix of writing by hand and on computers," she said.

"I think kids had pens and pencils in their hands a lot earlier - we're talking three- or four-year-olds at kindergarten were doing it and some are now coming in without that motor skill, so it's something that needs developing."

Teacher Lucy Lane says handwriting is timeless.

"I think it's just really important that they are still getting their handwriting skills because they're going to need that forever."

Child's Play OT occupational therapist Emma-Jane Taiapa says technology is having an impact on a child's fine motor skills.

"You can see that kids are able to swipe and type but when you're looking at writing letters, we're not getting any of that circular development, any of the right grasp, any of the strength," she said.

"When you look at handwriting you've got to look at the whole body. There's a lot more to do than just picking up a pencil.

"You've got to have the strength in your arms, your upper bodies to be able to sit at that table in that chair."