cursive writing

Why Montessori schools teach cursive writing?

Sep 18, 2019 - Language , Montessori Philosophy , Recommendations - By Carine Robin

Why Montessori schools teach cursive

Montessori schools teach cursive writing whereas most mainstream schools do not consistently do this. So today, I am going to take a look at the benefits of teaching cursive letters and why I believe it is important to teach cursive.

What is cursive?

The word cursive comes from the Latin 'currere' – to run. It is a style of writing when all the letters in a word are connected and the pen doesn't lift from the page. It is often called 'joined up' writing.

How Montessori prepares children for cursive

In the Montessori classroom, children practise fine motor skills that will be useful for writing. They do this through the practical life activities – arm and shoulder movements while polishing, washing the table, twisting to open bottle and so on (big clockwise movements are important for writing).

They are used to do everything from left to right, top to bottom as it’s how each activity is presented to them. This helps with how to write on paper.

The inset for design material helps the child to master the movements that will be necessary for writing and helps to form the shapes that will be used to form the letters.

Also called metal insets, they are ten flats squares in each of which rests a different cut-out metal shape identical to one of the shapes in the geometric cabinet. Each cut-out shape, or "inset” is blue and has a small knob at its centre and each border, or "frame” is pink. (from Basic Montessori)

"When the child has begun these exercises, he is seized with a desire to continue them, and he never tires of drawing the outlines of the figures and then filling them in. Each child suddenly becomes the possessor of a considerable number of drawings, and he treasures them up in his own little drawer. In this way he organizes the movement of writing, which brings him to the management of the pen." - Maria Montessori

So the child in the Montessori classroom has a long time to prepare before they start to write and do not start until they express a desire to do so. Typically, the children write before they can read. They imitate the teacher, older children and their parents.

Signup image Discover 10 Montessori Principles for parents - FREE video Subscribe to my newsletter and receive information about my courses, this blog and freebies including the First Lesson of the Montessori Parenting course!

Do all children learn cursive writing at school?

Cursive writing is widely taught all around Europe, but children are not taught reading and writing until they are around 6 years old.

In the UK, children start school at 4 years old so penmanship is simplified to enable younger children to write. Teaching cursive at any age is not a requirement in UK schools during reception or the national curriculum.

"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)..." —Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method

What are the benefits of teaching cursive letters?

There are lots of benefits of teaching cursive letters including improving fine motor skills and being able to write quicker. This also aids learning as they children can take more notes and the fluidity of writing and pattern creation can help with remembering spellings.

The joined up aspect of the letters helps the children to remember what each letter is and helps with spellings.

Psychologists say handwriting fluency can also free up children to focus on more complex tasks and leads to overall higher academic achievement.

Studies have also demonstrated what Montessori discovered more than a hundred years ago. By tracing the letters, the child can remember the sounds better. A multi-sensorial approach to writing is beneficial.

Teaching your child cursive

This set of tactile Montessori cursive letters from Little Star are a good place to start when teaching your child cursive. They allow your children to become familiar with the style, and the colour coding helps them distinguish between vowels and consonants. The tactile nature of Montessori materials means children are absorbing learning through all their senses. (I was sent these letters for review.)

I like that those letters are made of felt. Many children don't like the coarse texture of the sandpaper therefore those letters are a good alternative. They are also cheaper and of good quality for a home use.

I also love this tracing letter board . It comes with a tracing wooden stick. It is made in the UK by the Little Coach house.

Should you teach your child cursive?

Finding books and materials written in cursive is difficult but children can manage reading print and at the same time, writing in cursive. The fact that material is not readily available in cursive shouldn’t prevent you introducing it.

An important point to help children's writing is to be consistent though so if they will attend a mainstream school, check whether they will learn cursive after reception so you can support their progress at the right pace.

This blog post contains affiliate links at no extra cost for you. Thanks for supporting my work.

Related posts
Montessori stocking fillers

A member of my If stocking stuffers or fillers is a tradition in your family, here are some Montessori inspired gifts for under £10. These...

10 Montessori books about birds

Our Montessori box this month is all about birds! Very young children are fascinated by birds, as they are so easy to spot in their...

Montessori vs mainstream school: the updated version!

Are you wondering what are the main differences between Montessori education and traditional or mainstream one? A quick Google search will show you many comparison...

About the Author: Carine Robin is a qualified and experienced Montessori teacher and founder of The Montessori Family. With over 15 years of experience, Carine offers a blend of professional insight and personal understanding as a mother of two and qualified child psychologist. Inspired by the success of her Montessori subscription box, she created The Montessori Family to provide a comprehensive resource for parents and teachers globally. This platform aims to support child growth and well-being through curated educational activities. Additionally, Carine maintains the UK's most popular Montessori blog and administers the largest Montessori UK Facebook group, making her a central figure in the Montessori community.

Carine Robin
Comments (3)


March 28, 2020, 3:45 p.m.

This is so weird to me, as in my country we only learn cursive. It is mandatory to write in cursive.


Aug. 6, 2022, 12:42 a.m.

How do you guide them to also learn print if they learned cursive first?

Carine Robin Carine Robin

Aug. 17, 2022, 8:20 p.m.

Children are naturally exposed to print in books, advertising, magazines... They quickly see that they are the same as the cursive. But because of the way cursive are done, it's better for letter formation.