Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Important Social Lessons

Grace and Courtesy - Part 1
NAMC montessori grace and courtesy important social lessons boys playing
I have come to appreciate the fact that children have a deep sense of personal dignity…The important thing was that the children found no obstacles in the way to their development. They had nothing to hide, nothing to fear, nothing to shun. Their self-possession could be attributed to their immediate and perfect adaptation to their environment. ~ Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

I will never forget the first time I observed a Montessori class in action. There was something so magical and so endearing about the environment. I absolutely fell in love with the way the children treated the material, the teachers as well as their fellow classmates. The level of respect was incredible! Much later I learned that this harmonious environment was directly related to the important Grace and Courtesy lessons which are an integral aspect of every Montessori environment.

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Important Social Lessons

Maria Montessori believed that children between the ages of 3 and 6 yrs are in a sensitive period of learning good manners and felt that this aspect of their development offers a window of opportunity that must be nurtured in the Montessori environment at an early age. The important social lessons of Grace and Courtesy are best implemented through role-playing during circle time in the Montessori classroom and are reinforced daily on an individual basis. The Grace and Courtesy Lessons really do provide the framework for a peaceful, respectful Montessori environment.

Important Grace and Courtesy lessons include the following:
  • The Daily Greeting (shaking hands politely)
  • Interrupting politely (hand on shoulder)
  • How to say “please” and “thank you”
  • Answering the telephone politely
  • How to blow your nose
  • How to cough and sneeze
  • How to treat materials with respect
  • How to excuse oneself from a table or when you need to get by someone
  • How to walk around a mat
Just today, I observed the impact that these lessons have had on my own son. We were at the park this afternoon and a little boy about his age approached him, but was a little hesitant to say anything. My son who is four and half, extended his hand to the boy and said, “Hi, my name is ______, nice to meet you.” The two of them shook hands and then played together for quite a while. When it was time to go, my son said, “Bye friend, it was nice meeting you. Maybe I’ll see you another time.” It was very sweet to see him putting into practice the Grace and Courtesy lessons learned at Montessori preschool!
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, December 8, 2010.


  1. Hi Bree,

    I am studying with NAMC but haven't had the opportunity to observe a classroom as of yet. I am looking forward to it! The Grace and Courtesy lessons are some of my favorites to read and learn about. I feel these are the most important lessons we can teach our children especially in a world that is often filled with hate and chaos. It was good to read about your son's kindness to and acceptance of a stranger. Thank you for the post.

  2. Hi Shelley,

    Thank-you for your comment and yes, the Grace and Courtesy lessons are such an integral part of any Montessori classroom. They really do provide the framework for a harmonious Montessori environment! I agree that in today's world, so many people could benefit from such lessons and every day I see firsthand the benefits that these lessons have on young children. Thank-you again for the kind reply and I hope you are able to arrange an observation soon so that you too can see the impact such lessons have on a group of children----it is pure magic!


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