Rationale for Cursive Writing

Dr Montessori began with cursive writing because it was the script that adults communicated with in her day.

There were however many benefits for adopting this approach not least of which that the movements of cursive writing are more natural and easy to form. The hardest movements for the hand to make are a perfect circle and a perfectly vertically line. These are the components that make up printed script. Dr Montessori chose lower case cursive because the gentle curved lines are an extension of the natural movement of the child’s hand.

"Must one begin with strokes? The logical answer is “No.” These require too much effort on the part of the child to make them. If he is to begin with the stroke, it should be the easiest thing to execute. But, if we note carefully, a straight stroke is the most difficult to make. Only an accomplished writer can fill out a page with regular strokes, whereas a person who is only moderately proficient can cover a page with presentable writing."
(Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child', Clio Press Ltd, 193)

Children who learn to read print first may encounter some difficulties with letter recognition. Children who are introduced to cursive lower case have almost no instances of letter reversals. With printed script it is quite easy to mix up b and d and p and q.

When writing in cursive the act of connecting the letters that form a word help the child’s mind to see those letters as a word. The letters of each separate word are connected and then there is a space distinguishing it from the word that follows. This will make it easier for someone else reading the child's writing to be able to distinguish each separate word.

The most compelling reason for using the cursive script is that the children who learn to read cursive words first make a very quick transition to reading print. In fact, they very often have an innate curiosity about all forms of lettering and an enjoyment in puzzling out unusual alphabetical signs.