Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Traditional handwriting is slowly disappearing in mainstream schools today as there is more focus on computers. However, Maria Montessori found that children learn best through movement and their senses. Science confirms new pathways form in the brain as a child interacts and explores the world.
Her studies also revealed that the straight and oblique lines in printing were difficult for children. They needed to form each letter, lift their pencil, and then form the next. This wasn’t conducive the free flow of ideas or a natural movement for the child.
Conversely, cursive writing involves uninterrupted movements of the hand. Repeating natural movements while forming words and letters strengthens the small muscles in a child’s hand. They develop the fine motor skills needed for writing, grasping objects, and performing other actions they will do throughout their life.
Children start using cursive sandpaper letters that they trace using their fingers. They learn the sounds associated with the shapes. Later, they may also form letters in a tray of sand or on a blackboard. Eventually they write the letters freely on blank paper and then between the guidelines of lined paper.
Cursive also plays a practical role when a child is learning to write. It can reduce the common problem of letter reversal. In print, letters such as “ d” and b”, “p” and “q”, “w” and “m”, and “n” and “u” are often mistakenly swapped for each other. However, linking letters together in groups make it less likely this will happen.
Cursive also helps a child conceptualize words. Instead of thinking of individual letters, they see words as a cohesive whole. Studies show that this leads to a continuous flow of thoughts and greater information retention. As a result, children that learn cursive writing also transition quickly to reading print with better comprehension.
If you’re considering a Montessori education for your child, please contact us. You are more than welcome to schedule a tour at Sunset Montessori Community or we can answer any questions you have about our center, programs, and pricing.