Skip to main content
"A great blog that is fun, interesting and informative. Packed full of information on a range of topics. I love their sense of humor while they are providing well informed and thought out answers to your questions. All in all a great read for any parent!"--Christine Howard.

Proud affiliate of Montessori Services!

Montessori FAQs About When to Begin Cursive

I have many questions regarding teaching cursive letters. My three-year-old son is in a Montessori school now. However, the teacher is using print letters for teaching him. I personally want my son to learn cursive letters because I know it has many advantages. I have discussed this with the teacher, but she insists on using print letters. Is my son going to be confused because his teacher is teaching printed letters (ball and stick) while I'm teaching cursive letters? Any disadvantages to my son?Also, how can I start?

Developmentally, your three-year-old son might not show an interest in cursive letters, so be careful. The cursive letters are very abstract, more so than print letters (stick and ball as they are often called). And also, cursive letters are taught for writing. And remember, writing comes BEFORE reading in Montessori.
The window to begin writing is age four to five (and is highest usually at age 4 1/2 and is called "The Writing Explosion" in Montessori schools). That is when you want to teach cursive WRITING. (The child traces the cursive letter and writes it). So to teach cursive now has no meaning, no purpose, because of the age of your child. (And he will probably show little interest in cursive as a result.)

And why are children at age three learning letters (in print)? To build their muscular memory for writing these letters when they are 4 and 4 1/2 and 5 (called indirect preparation). Yes, they are learning the sounds that the letters make, to prepare for phonetic reading when they are 5, but also to spell using the Movable Alphabet when they are 4 and 5 (spelling also comes before reading).

Is learning the letters from tracing the sandpaper-letter easier than practicing them with a pencil?

Think of it not as what is easier or harder, but where the child is developmentally: Pencil writing can start at age 4 to 4 1/2, not 3 or 3 1/2: it could be very difficult for a three-year-old, and as a result, turn the child off to writing when he is older. Tracing letters is an "indirect preparation" for writing print, as well as learning how to spell with the Movable Alphabet, and phonetic sounds for reading at age 5.

How can I start cursive?

If you are going to introduce cursive letters, let him MATCH them to the print letters that he already knows, since matching is more of an interest to a three-year-old. Let him match seven to ten letters at at time. You can also tell him the print letters will help him learn how to spell and read, and the cursive letters will help him to write.


You may also like Montessori Read and Write  and or my recommended list of books for reading and phonics (on

An article about whether to teach (first) cursive or manuscript (print) here.

More Montessori cursive here at Teaching from a Tackle Box!

You may also be interested in my recommended Montessori and homeschool books for parents and teachers on or my Montessori and homeschool programs for birth to nine-year-olds at Montessori for the Earth.

Popular posts from this blog

Montessori Printables & PDFs

Montessori printables,downloads, and PDFs are an inexpensive to make your own, DIY materials for your homeschool or day care setting! Well I have some terrific resources to share with you from the Montessori mom bloggers of the Montessori Bloggers Network. Want to PIN for later?

Montessori Language & Outline for Ages 3 to 9

I am sharing my Montessori training lecture notes on language, an introduction and outline, for ages three to nine. The most important concept in early language development is that the child has to become aware that language and words are made of sounds. We achieve this with the help of the I Spy Game. The next step is to introduce the symbols that represent these sounds with the help of the Sandpaper Letters.

A Montessori Infant and Toddler Home Environment

I get a lot of questions about how to do Montessori at home with infants and their toddler siblings. So I created a Montessori Infant and Sibling Series. This is part one.
"How do I organize the work room areas (where all the Montessori-related materials are going to be) including a two-year-old area (such as art section, math section, etc.) and an 11-month-old area of the room?"
"What about their bedrooms and the living room? Which room should I start with first? It's just overwhelming."
"Should I make up a daily schedule first, or organize (plan, shop, and display) all the materials first? And how do I decide what I should put on the shelves for each of my children?"
Want to PIN for later?

How many Montessori materials do you REALLY need in the home?

A Montessori mom recently confessed in my Montessori Facebook group about the constant feeling of needing MORE: more Montessori activities and materials, more quality toys, more art supplies... When do you feel satisfied? When do you have enough!?

DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting: A Guest Post by Carolyn Wilhelm of Wise Owl Factory

I recently purchased Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from theTrenches, Lisa Nolan's mom lit parent humor anthology with forty contributing mom bloggers. Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness is very funny and poignant while describing the experiences of the sleep deprived mothers who contributed the chapters. Any young parents needing some comedic relief about their situations would feel less alone and more understood by reading this book. I've already sent it to a young mom who I know will enjoy the writing. The writers are all very talented and many have written other books and/or blogs. They are introduced at the end of the book with links for future reading and enjoyment.
I smiled for days remembering some of the lines in the book such as, "I hear a doggy barking!" spoken by a child trying to delay bedtime. The teacher mom I could so relate with, as both jobs can be exhausting. There are poems and stories, and it is the perfect bed stand book to help parent…
CLICK to subscribe for my 37-page Montessori FAQs PDF