A fundamental aspect of building a Montessori classroom community is learning respect. After observing our classrooms many prospective parents comment how civilized it is, how the children get along so well and are so respectful of each other and their teachers. They want to know how Montessori children learn to wait for a turn, respect someone else’s space, walk in the classroom and politely ask for help or offer help to someone else. As part of our classroom curriculum we practice many instances of grace and courtesy. This helps make our classroom environment respectful, safe, and peaceful. We find that practicing social graces helps ease social anxiety, preparing the children for interacting in social situations in the classroom and in life.
These lessons are a regular feature of every classroom, especially at the beginning of the year when new children are being introduced to the classroom. One of the first skills introduced is respect of others work space, “How to walk around a rug.” The teacher will unroll a small rug on the floor in the middle of the circle of children, and invite them to watch. With elaborate care she will place her foot just beside the rug with every step she takes. Each time she comes to a corner, she will accentuate going all the way around and not cutting the corner by stepping over it. She will then announce, “Now you know how to walk around a rug,” and invite several children, one at a time, to have a turn. Lessons progress with development of the child.
Individual and group lessons encompass this aspect of the curriculum. In addition, we focus on a different grace, courtesy, and manners lesson each month as a MANT community. Information is provided to parents so they can help reinforce these skills at home. Lessons include:
- Giving & Receiving
- Table Manners
- Common Courtesies
- Caring for the Community