Good manners are essential in a Montessori education. Along with being respectful towards others, a child who has good manners is more confident and has higher self-esteem. They are also able to develop happier and healthier relationships with others. Here are some ways that you can teach the Montessori manners of grace and courtesy.
Setting a Positive Example
Young children have the ability to absorb information very easily. Every time your children are near you, they are watching what you do and listening to what you say. This is why it’s such a good idea for you to practice good manners yourself. If your children frequently hear you say “please” and “thank you,” then they will begin to model their behavior after yours. When your child hands you something or does something nice, you can say “thank you” to your child to show them that it is important to be polite to everyone. After making a conscious effort to exhibit graceful behavior, it will start to come very naturally, and your child will recognize this. Setting a positive example is a simple way to show your child how easy it is to be courteous in any situation.
Choose a specific manner that you would like your child to learn and demonstrate the proper behavior. If you would like your child to learn how to greet someone, for instance, break the behavior into steps. Explain to your child that they should make eye contact with the person, shake their hand, and say, “It’s nice to meet you.” Demonstrate each step to your child and then allow your child to practice them. Pretend that you are introducing your child to a friend of yours and give your child the opportunity to demonstrate each step. Repeat this roleplay activity as many times as it takes for your child to learn the proper behavior. If your child is struggling, you can review the lesson at another time.
Learning Gracious Behaviors Takes Time
Every child learns at their own pace and is influenced by their personality. Some children are very shy and have a difficult time speaking with adults, while other children love meeting new people. Certain manners may be easy to pick up on, while others take a lot more time to learn. When a child exhibits a gracious behavior, recognize that you are proud of this behavior by acknowledging it; for example, “I liked how you introduced yourself to our neighbor.” When your child forgets a behavior, try not to criticize or embarrass them. Instead, repeat the lesson again in private to reinforce its importance.
At Silverline Montessori School, one of our main program goals is to help children understand social relationships. In our specially designed Montessori environments, children develop a strong sense of respect for themselves, for others, and for their environment. Grace and courtesy lessons are given on a regular basis in the classroom in order to reinforce their importance.