Thursday, December 09, 2010

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Modeling Behavior Can Be Fun!

NAMC montessori grace and courtesy modeling behavior shaking hands
This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Grace and Courtesy - Part 2
As mentioned in Part 1, the Montessori Grace and Courtesy lessons introduce children to socially accepted customs and manners that in turn help them interact with others in a peaceful manner. Students learn to take responsibility for themselves, their classmates, and the environment. Through the lessons, children are given the vocabulary, the actions and the steps required for them to treat others with courtesy and dignity and above all, to act in a socially acceptable manner. Essentially, the lessons prepare the child for his/her entry into society and ultimately into adulthood.

During circle time today, I presented a lesson to reinforce the proper way to shake hands and the children really seemed to
enjoy it. First, I demonstrated with the other teacher, taking care to demonstrate very precisely the polite way to shake hands while the children watched very intently. I then asked a couple of the students to stand up and demonstrate for the group and lastly, I invited the children to watch me again and tell me what I was not doing correctly. My Montessori preschool students always have fun watching me do something the wrong way and take great delight in putting up their hand up to tell me what I should have done.

Montessori Grace and Courtesy: Modeling Behavior Can Be Fun!

For example, one of the students said, “Teacher Bree, you forgot to look at Teacher Jenny’s eyes when you shook her hand. You have to look in her eyes when you shake her hand.” I always thank the child for reminding me and try again the correct way ... such an effective reinforcement technique! After the demonstration, I wanted to give each child an opportunity to practice the correct way to greet someone, so I had all twenty children line up outside the door where I greet them each day. One by one they took turns shaking my hand and responded to my greeting with a polite response. As they entered the classroom, they quietly chose an activity and our work period began.

My three year old student, Jordan was the first child to practice the greeting and he did very well. I got down to his level, extended my right hand and said, “Good Morning Jordan! It’s nice to see you. How are you doing today?” Jordan shook my hand and replied by saying, “Fine, thank you. How are you, Teacher Bree?” His reply was excellent and he even remembered to look in my eyes while shaking hands……great job, Jordan!
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 Thursday, December 9, 2010.


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