Children by nature are self-absorbed and egocentric. However, when children are given repeated opportunities to experience being grateful, they can begin to understand gratitude. Gratitude is the ability to show appreciation, act with generosity and return kindness; including being sensitive and empathetic to others.
Grace and Courtesy
One important component in Montessori pedagogy is Grace and Courtesy lessons. Grace and Courtesy is an ongoing, collaborative work where children and the teacher work together to forge a healthy strong community where responsibility, respect, tolerance, empathy, and harmony are valued and learned.
Grace and Courtesy lessons are presented like a skit of teacher and children so they may absorb and experience the modeled behavior. Grace and Courtesy lessons are given proactively so the children learn how to navigate the environment and social landscape and learn how to get along as a social community.
From modeling “How to walk around a work rug” (learning to appreciate space, environment, others and self), observing another child at work (learning to appreciate other’s space/work/peace, self control), saying “excuse me” and “please”, offering help, Thanks and Apologizing (Learning to appreciate/respect others and self, gratitude, verbally and gently express with kindness). Through Grace and Courtesy children learn and practice to show appreciation and thoughtfulness to everyone and the environment.
In the month of November, we read a book about the story of the Pilgrims. We discussed the difficulty they faced, the meaning of good friendship between the Pilgrims and Samoset, Squanto and how thankful the pilgrims that they got out of the difficult journey from England to have a better life in America.
We discussed the meaning of thankfulness for our day where some other children can’t go to school and play/learn with friends, or don’t have enough food to eat. We discuss what we are thankful for and how to express our gratitude and to share with the ones who are less fortunate than us.
We can support children in developing attitudes of gratitude by :
- Modeling and vocalizing appreciation of the good things that happen each day.
- Being a good role model together with children to help others in the community.
- Modeling complementing rather than complaining by focusing more on abundance (what we have) than scarcity (what we don’t have)
- Modeling in showing respect and thoughtfulness to everyone.
- Often say “Thank you” with sincerity.
This week children were given an opportunity to share food with some unfortunate families through the Giving Baskets. As a group Primary Children made Thanksgiving cards to be delivered together with the Giving Baskets and the Happy Thanksgiving Turkey poster. Individually they made their Thankful Trees with pictures/photos of what they are thankful for.
Last but not least we would like to thank parents for participating in our Thanksgiving Zoom Celebration. The children were so excited to see parents and families at the Zoom Celebration. Once again, Thank You!