Monday, October 10, 2016

How to Teach Cursive

The Montessori method is a little peculiar in that it starts with cursive as opposed to print. Henry has been working on cursive for the past two years in PK3 and PK4. He's never been particularly interested in a lot of fine motor activities, so his writing is coming along slowly. My hope is that he has a strong command of cursive writing by the start of 1st grade (but not at the expense of loving writing). 

Here are the things we are doing to support the development of his writing:
  1. We asked his teacher for lined paper so we can encourage him to continually add to the list of things he wants for Christmas and his birthday. Writing for authentic reasons is so motivating! 
  2. Try to see if he'll spend a little time each day practicing with this cursive dry erase board
  3. I'm thinking about getting him some more art activities (like stencils) to continue to develop his hand! 
In case you're interested, here's an article about why Montessori teachers cursive first.

P.S. Henry's story reads: "In the morning, we eat breakfast."

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Erin Curran said...

Thanks for sharing that article. Many great points. Question - Do you eventually teach printing? And if so, at what age/grade?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Erin! My understanding is that children just sort of pick up print later on by being in a print-rich world. In Montessori, children write in cursive but read in print, so there's lots of exposure to print.

Have a great day!

Beth said...

Cursive should be taught first, if one is going to be using it primarily.
However, I don't know how useful knowing it will be for this younger generation. Cursive originated 1) because when using quill pens, lifting the pen off the paper would waste ink and make a mess and 2) it was the fastest way of writing at the time. Every (or most) written language has a cursive variation.

Now everything must be typed instead. What does Montessori think of computers and technology? Do they need to be made of wood?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Beth! Pure Montessori schools keep technology out of the 3-6 year-old classrooms because children that age are sensorial learners who learn best through their five senses. But after that, Montessori schools often start incorporating technology. We have laptops and iPads in our 1st-3rd grade classrooms to be used as tools for creation and communication. Starting in 4th grade, we teach typing and coding.

katharina said...

I'm no expert at this, but whenever we try to improve fine motor (drawing/writing) skills with the kids at my work the fysiotherapists say to work with the whole arm starting from the shoulders. However I'm not sure that applies to Henry. The kids I have worked with one could sort of see that they were a bit floppy in their whole body. How does Henry use his whole arm when he writes? Is the rest of the arm still or does he move a lot with big movements?
If he still does big movements you could try to let him climb a lot or have that game (don't know the english name- is it called wheelbarrows?) where you hold him up to your hips with his feet and he can walk on his hands. Also strenghen the hand by using playdough, baking, popping bubblewrap etc.

Thais said...

I like the stencil idea, my son is not a fan of fine motor things either. We found these wooden M&D ones that look interesting

Cali Cole said...

why, yes, Melissa and Doug, makes a working, wooden computer. so silly! my students, at a traditional, public school, want to learn cursive (and any teacher knows if a kid voices a want to learn something, you run with it!), so i think it appeals to children in a "fun" way, as well as a way to build handwriting skills.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Those are beautiful, Thais! Thanks for sharing!

Such interesting ideas, katharina! Great ideas to think about.

Yes, Cali Cole. We notice the same thing at our school. It's a fun challenge for children! Have you tried Handwriting without Tears? I like it a lot.

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