The lead up to Christmas can be quite stressful for parents and children due to the potential disruption to routine and the number of people to meet and greet!
In Practical Life, one of the 5 Montessori curriculum areas, a skill that is taught is Grace and Courtesy which is a part of the social skills program. It assists the child to engage in their environment appropriately, positively and independently. Grace and Courtesy lessons are an important part of the Practical Life Curriculum. In fact, the skills children learn as part of the Grace and Courtesy lesson program are just as important as Maths, Music, and Language. This is because lessons on Grace and Courtesy provide children with explicit instructions on how to interpret and react to different social situations and behaviours.
Children between the ages of two and a half and six years are in the Sensitive Period for learning Courtesy and Manners. This is why the focus for this age group is based on providing students with the vocabulary, actions, and steps that they need to develop their interpersonal skills and respond to their environment. Grace and Courtesy Lessons are presented in small groups by the Educator who role-plays different social situations. Examples of Grace and Courtesy lessons include learning how to:
1) Say “please” and “thank you”
2) Greet one another
3) Politely interrupt a person engaged in an activity
4) Introduce friends and acquaintances
Through lessons of Grace and Courtesy, a student is able to develop and refine social skills while building self-esteem and independence. These lessons also assist children with learning to orientate themselves to their environment, and answers children’s questions about how they belong and participate in the world at large.
This Christmas is a great time to sit down with your child and teach them some skills and social expectations. Role play with your child and practice with them:
When someone comes to the door at Christmas time is polite when we say: “Hello, Happy Holidays!”
Provide your child with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate social etiquette these holidays!