Let’s peek inside the doors of P2, where students are learning about the concept of courtesy in the classroom.
“Grace and courtesy are fundamental concepts taught by Dr. Maria Montessori in her original school for young children of working class parents. It was the recognition of how the children and their ‘guide’ (teachers) interacted with each other inside the classroom that helped create a peaceful and productive learning environment.
Today, we see that when each child recognizes that their voice and their actions have a direct impact on the flow of the whole class, they experience the power of working and being with others.
Not only do they begin the lifelong process of developing inner control and discipline but they experience the joy of being in harmony with the collective. It is a profound and important lesson in social development.
Some examples of practicing grace and courtesy begin first thing in the morning when the classroom doors are opened and the children are welcomed into the classroom. You may see a teacher extend their right hand greeting the child individually by name.
This action calls the child to the present moment and gives them a deep sense of belonging to the whole group. At the same time, this gesture reminds the child that they have entered a special place of learning and that they individually play an important role in that space.
Pushing in a chair after completing a task, is another tangible action of courtesy and one that our students experience numerous times a day. While the act is practical and signals to the child that they have completed their task, it reinforces the awareness that other children are using the environment with them.
Replacing a job in the condition they received it in and at the precise spot on the shelves also creates the awareness that if they do their part to preserve the order in the room, the whole Montessori classroom functions at a higher level. Watching a young three-year-old cheerfully push in a chair and roll up a mat is one of the delights of being a Montessori teacher.
Try this at home:
Create a simple method of organizing their toys or books. Use baskets and shelves to find a specific home for each toy or groups of toys and then teach your child to consistently replace the item in that exact spot. Actions speak louder than words, so in the beginning you might have to show your child the correct location for the toy and repeat the lesson until they have absorbed the idea. Once your child sees the advantage of having their toy accessible in the same location, it will be easier for them to return it consistently to that spot.”
–The P2 Teachers
Foothills Montessori School is a private Montessori school serving families in Henderson, Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.