Grace and courtesy – In Montessori schools, children are formally instructed in social skills they will use throughout their lives, for example, saying “please” and “thank you,” interrupting conversations politely, requesting rather than demanding assistance, and greeting guests warmly. (American Montessori Society)
The beginning of the school year can be a confusing time. As parents, we view the school experience from different lenses, but common questions are often asked, “When will my child read?” “When is the teacher going to start teaching math lessons?” “Why is my child telling me about rolling a rug or sitting at circle-time? In Montessori, we believe building classrooms for success starts by providing a strong foundation for learning. This is a small example of how we begin.
In Montessori, the start of every school year is focused on creating our classroom communities where children feel safe and included. How this happens is very intentional on the part of teachers. Establishing norms, practices, and behavioral expectations that create an environment ripe for learning is how we settle into the new school year. Lessons that reinforce how we treat one other and share the class space are called the lessons of “Grace and Courtesy”
Children feel most comfortable when they have control over their environment and can navigate the room with ease. So ensuring children know where to hang their bag, put their water bottle so it’s accessible, or put work away so they find it tomorrow, builds confidence and predictability. By starting each morning reviewing the day’s work and how the day will run provides firm footing for what to expect. The children are then off and running!
A core piece of the lessons of Grace and Courtesy is how we establish norms regarding how we treat one another. The development of the Class Peace Promise (see last week’s Jarrow Journal) is one way to create an agreed-upon list of ‘ground rules’ that all the children will follow and holds everyone accountable for the same expectations and their own behavior. This helps to ensure the classroom is seen as a safe space for learning and growing.
Interested in reading more about raising a Montessori Child? How To Raise An Amazing Child