One of the things I love the most about the Montessori system is that the education is not limited to the academics only. It goes beyond this, educating the child in all aspects of life so that he can turn into a good citizen. “Grace and Courtesy”, which is taught from a very young age, is as important as the academic areas. For those who are not familiar with the term “grace and courtesy” it involves lessons that help the child gain control, concentration and conscience about the environment that surrounds him and how he/she should interact with those around him.
Within the lessons of “Grace and Courtesy” one could find several that involve proper manners and rules of etiquette. On many occasions we go to different places and surprise ourselves with the way that children are acting. With Christmas around the corner, and example of this could be when someone gives a child a gift, the child opens it and makes a face as if saying “but I do not like this”. Suddenly the parent is reacting and saying: “Aren’t you going to say thank you?” I am sure this comment could make any child pretty uncomfortable. If we show the children how to act under certain circumstances (as when someone gives them a present that they do not like) I am sure this will save us many headaches; and we will feel very proud of our children’s good manners.
Not long ago I had the opportunity of Reading a great book in regards to this topic. “Montessori at Home or at school-How to teach Grace and Courtesy” by Deb Chitwood. Deb is a Montessori teacher, who has worked in both, school and home-school setting. She shares great ideas on how to integrate “grace and courtesy” into a child’s education. Her book can be purchase through Amazon. It is an E-book, which offers the reader different alternatives on how to read it(Tablet, computer or even telephone).
This book has several chapters about courtesy and etiquette. One of the things that I loved about the book is that the author took into consideration the different stages of development that a child experiences. She also suggests that it is advisable to modify the lessons according to a region and the culture where one lives.
The second part of the book is written for an older child to be able to read and understand. The information is simple, since the explanations and short and precise (even for someone whose first language is not English). This book could be a great resource for parents, Montessori teachers or teacher in general. In her book, Deb offers different rules and ideas on how to teach proper etiquette, always taking into consideration the age or stage of development a child is experiencing at the time of the lesson. I would highly recommend it!