Some of the early artwork your child produces is likely to be a page filled with swirls and scribbles. Long fluid lines of one color then another, intersecting to form a colorful cacophony!
It seems that children naturally begin to draw or color with fluid circular motions. Maria Montessori noticed this in her first classroom, and used this observation to develop her pedagogy around writing instruction.
For this reason, and a few others we’ll highlight below, Montessori introduces cursive BEFORE print letter writing. This seems especially backward in today’s world, as it becomes less and less common to write by hand at all, let alone in cursive.
Montessori says, “We directly prepare the child, not only for writing, but also for penmanship, paying attention to the beauty of form (having the children touch the letters in script form)…” – The Montessori Method
Here are a few more reasons children learn cursive before print writing in the Montessori classroom:
- Cursive always begins on the left and ends on the right. This helps avoid the letter order confusion sometimes encountered with print, when CAT might end up ACT or TAC.
- All letters are connected to one another in cursive, which helps a child when they begin to read. We speak words in one fluid motion without stopping, and a cursive word, with all of the letters touching, is a nice visual representation for a child.
- We see print writing everywhere around us, from billboards to books to the mobile phone or computer you’re reading this on. A child absorbs print writing through their environment. It’s not as common to see cursive writing in our environment however, so a child’s instruction in cursive from a young age will help them read that handwritten letter from grandma or even old documents like the Constitution of the United States.
What experiences do you have with cursive and print writing? Did you have to learn both?
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