Sunday, August 19, 2007

Montessori Philosophy: Grace and Courtesy Make a Difference

woman on phone grace courtesy make a difference NAMC montessori philosophy

When my son met the new executive director of our new Montessori school two weeks ago, I was very pleased when he made the first move to shake hands. His voice dropped ½ an octave and he got a very serious expression on his face as he said “It’s nice to meet you.” As a mom, I was secretly smiling at the level of solemnity that caused his voice to drop and I noted to myself that this is another rite of passage that is soon to be marked and didn’t think much more about it.

When school started last week, again I was pleased to note how many of my thirty students stopped and greeted me and my assistant as they enter the classroom. For some, they took it quite seriously, pausing to look us in they eye as they said good morning. Others rushed through the gesture as something that had to be done before racing off to join their friends.

These acts of courtesy are almost taken for granted when they occur at school and in our Montessori classroom.
This weekend, however, really made me stop and think about the importance of learning these small acts of courtesy and what a difference it makes in the life of a child.

Montessori Philosophy: Grace and Courtesy Make a Difference

We had invited a friend of my son’s over for a sleep over. They were in the same class last year and his mother, a friend of mine, is a Montessori teacher in the adolescent program at our old school. We hadn’t seen each other since school let out and when I opened the front door, nine year-old Ryan greeted me with a bear hug and “Michelle, it’s so nice to see you.” Talk about making my day! We later went over to my parents’ neighborhood to go swimming and he greeted each of them with a firm handshake and a sincere “It’s very nice to meet you.” Both of my parents were delighted and each commented on how polite and respectful he was. The message was clear: it makes a difference.

The boys swam for hours, having fun playing tag and ball in the pool. Several people stopped by to tell me how nicely the boys were playing together and wasn’t I lucky they were so good. Indeed, not only was I lucky, but so were the adults around them. It gave us all hope that these boys would grow up gracious and courteous, making a difference in the world around them.

When it came time to leave, Ryan thanked both of my parents for letting him come over and go swimming and told them he had a great time. My parents responded with he was welcome any time.

Later, when I tucked both sleepy boys into bed, Ryan’s last words to me were, “Thank you for letting me spend the night, Michelle.” “Any time, Ryan, you are welcome any time.” I said.

For presentations on grace and courtesy, see NAMC’s Preschool/KG Practical Life curriculum manual and our Elementary Advanced Practical Life curriculum manual.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Sunday, August 19, 2007.


  1. It sounds wonderful... and so timely too, as I have just been looking at manners with my kids :)


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