Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Lesson Resources for Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

So in the child, besides the vital impulse to create himself, and to become perfect, there must yet another purpose, a duty to fulfill in harmony, something he has to do in the service of a united whole. ~ Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, pg 57.

NAMC montessori grace and courtesy lesson resources toddlers infants preschoolers
The lessons in Grace and Courtesy are a cornerstone in the Montessori methodology. Indeed, these lessons can be expanded to include courtesy to those outside our immediate community in the form of community service. There is a natural need in every human being to find one’s place in the cosmos by finding fulfillment both inside and outside oneself. Montessori believed that it is the duty of every person to work toward and be part of something great which not only serves individual interests but those of all humanity. To understand this great relationship, children must be nurtured in the ways of grace, courtesy and service in order for it to flourish and grow throughout their lives.

Within every young child is the need for order. The initial lessons of Grace and Courtesy center on building the Montessori classroom community, and are often presented in the context of the Montessori Practical Life curriculum. They answer the child’s questions of how they fit into and participate in their environment. Using clear language and modeling, Montessori teachers present these lessons to provide structure so the child can know her place, not only in the Montessori environment, but in the world at large.

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Lesson Resources for Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Toddlers are very empathetic. They become concerned when hearing a baby cry and are quick to offer help and sympathy if someone is hurt or seems sad. They have a natural propensity to serve others. They are able to identify these emotions within themselves and are able to show an awareness of and compassion for others through this empathy.

Children between the ages of 2.5 to 6 are in a sensitive period for learning courtesy and manners. Learning to act appropriately in one’s own culture is another aspect of the lessons of Grace and Courtesy. These lessons begin as soon as the child enters the Montessori environment. By developing a sense of cultural awareness, children learn how to live with dignity, respect and politeness toward themselves and others.

Early Lessons in Grace and Courtesy
Early lessons of grace and courtesy develop positive interpersonal skills that will serve children throughout their lives. Demonstrations of Practical Life activities involving Grace and Courtesy, as well as modeling this behavior, are designed to nurture a child’s natural qualities of Grace and Courtesy, and his inherent desire to contribute to the peaceful order of his environment.
NAMC montessori grace and courtesy lesson resources toddlers infants preschoolers pushing in a chair
These lessons include, but are not limited to:
  • greeting someone
  • introducing oneself
  • shaking hands
  • receiving visitors
  • apologizing/excusing oneself
  • watching and observing others
  • waiting
  • taking turns
  • interrupting/asking for help
  • using a quiet voice
  • speaking in a polite tone
  • saying please and thank you
  • blowing one’s nose
  • coughing and sneezing
  • washing one’s hands
  • inviting and refusing a partner or playmate
  • respecting others and their space
  • walking around people and objects
  • sitting on and putting away a chair
  • walking in line
  • offering food
  • caring for works, books, and the environment
  • rolling a rug
  • carrying work or objects
  • being silent
  • being kind
  • making friends
The desire to be gracious and courteous is naturally present in the child. The Montessori teacher and Montessori parents seek to support these desires by gentle modeling and encouragement of this natural tendency. Many of these lessons are not “shelf works”. Some are demonstrations, while others are simply behavior absorbed through the child’s careful observation of her world. Positive models of grace and courtesy provide the example and environment for the development of peaceful young citizens.

The NAMC 3-6 Practical Life manual provides lessons in Grace and Courtesy.
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 Wednesday, March 3, 2010.


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