MM: Grace and Courtesy begins at home
Monday, January 15, 2007

An important aspect of a Montessori style education is to educate the whole child. Montessorians don't stop at reading, writing, and arithmetic, but seek to educate the heart, mind, and body to allow the child to blossom into the flower God created him or her to be. Hopefully a rose or camellia or something, not a stinkweed ;)

Toddler training of the body includes practical life lessons, one aspect of which was my inaugural Montessori Monday post. This week finds us focusing on the mind - or spirit, really, with Grace and Courtesy.

It also finds me long on links and short on substance - President's Day means I've got everyone hanging out around here today!

The essence of Grace and Courtesy is to teach a child manners, and to think of others. It goes farther than simply demanding a "please" or a "thank you"; it covers all aspects of courtesy a child may need to know.

Focus on teaching your child specifically:

How to observe another child working. This is quite an important lesson; in Montessori philosophy, children are allowed to pursue their work (whether it be pouring beans, stringing beads, or working with letters) uninterrupted, and without having to share their work. One person uses the materials at a time, they work with them as long as they want, and put them away when finished. Then another child may select that work - when the first child has completed it on his own time schedule.

This was one of the hardest Montessori things for *me* to do; after all, isn't teaching a child to share the most important thing a Mama can do? On the other hand, how do you feel if you are busy blogging working on the computer and husband wants you to "share" and look up tide reports, football scores, or check out the latest on YouTube when you are just settling down to browse Sharing is important, but so is teaching concentration and seeing a job through. Don't cut your child off from her cylinders or blocks before she has satisfied her urge to learn and manipulate them! (Children must attend to the work, however. They can't leave it out, wander into the other room for a snack, build a tree house, and then come back to it while Brother patiently waits his turn!)

How to blow their nose quietly, and what to do with the hankie or Kleenex afterwards.

Table and chair manners - how to sit down without showing your panties and how to push in your chair without that hair raising chalkboard screech.

How to Apologize.

I have found the proper apology to be an important lesson, and used quite frequently in a house with active boys!

I actually made a poster and hung it on the wall, with my crude pictographs illustrations of the steps in action. I broke it down into 4 basic steps:
Look the person in the eye
Say I'm Sorry
Name the offense (for hitting you/taking your candy/shaving your doll's head)
Ask for forgiveness.

Don't forget to add a little lesson in how to graciously accept an apology too!
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 1/15/2007 10:16:00 AM | Permalink | |