Grace and Courtesy in the Toddler House

Ally Leon
The lessons of Grace and Courtesy are a fundamental element in the Montessori Method and take place every day in our classroom through beautiful and kind language, and thoughtful and purposeful actions. Maria Montessori believed that it is our duty as human beings to work toward and be part of something great which not only serves individual interest but those of all humanity. To understand this relationship, children must be nurtured in the ways of grace and courtesy in order for it to flourish throughout their lives. Within every child there is a need for order. The initial lesson of grace and courtesy is presented in the classroom to children through practical life activities, we use clear language and modeling. Through these activities children learn how to fit and participate in their environment. 
Over the past few weeks in the Beech Classroom, we have noticed that many children are in the sensitive period for learning grace and courtesy. Each morning we see the children greeting one another at the door, and some lend a hand to friends who may be struggling to put their belongings away. The children are becoming able to identify each other’s emotions and showing concern for a friend when someone is showing signs of sadness. They are becoming more empathetic, aware and compassionate towards friends and are quick to offer help, sympathy or a hug.  The children move throughout the classroom environment peacefully, caring for their friends and environment. A few examples of the children practicing grace and courtesy are:
  • Greeting someone
  • Apologizing or excusing oneself
  • Watching and observing others
  • Waiting
  • Taking turns
  • Asking for help
  • Using a quiet voice
  • Speaking in a polite tone
  • Saying please and thank you
  • Blowing one’s nose
  • Covering your cough/sneeze
  • Washing one’s hands
  • Inviting or refusing a friend (politely)
  • Respecting others and their space
  • Walking around people and objects
  • Sitting on and tucking a chair in
  • Caring for activities, materials, books, and environment
  • Rolling a rug
  • Carrying activities and materials properly
  • Being silent
  • Being kind
The desire to be gracious and courteous is naturally present within children. As Montessori teachers and parents, it is important that we support their natural desire to be kind and thoughtful through gentle modeling and encouragement. Many of these lessons are not activities that we can find on the shelf, some are through demonstration/modeling and others are simple behaviors absorbed through the child through their careful observation of their world.

About Harborlight

Harborlight Montessori is an independent, co-educational, day school for children from infant-toddler through grade 8 that is committed to innovative teaching and learning.