A few weeks ago, I happen to run into one of our Montessori Tides families inside a local grocery store. I always consider being in the presence of these precious children, during school hours or after, a joy unspeakable. This particular time, I meet Henry, one of Mrs. Nancy’s Elementary students. I must say, now, Henry, so distinguished himself among the adults by his exceptional qualities. At this, he was centered, polite, self-confident, helpful, and more knowledgeable. He came across different from other children his age. In fact, I found myself walking away from our run-in uttering the same words I have heard my mother say over and over again, “Now that’s a Montessori child for you”.
In short, a Montessori child knows themselves and is less easily wavered by any outside influences. They know they have something to offer this world that no one else can or ever will. Instead of being tossed to and fro by the winds of change, their inner compass, the heart, keeps them centered. A child’s heart includes the soul, the will, the mind, the thinking, the knowledge, the seat of appetites, emotions, passions, and courage. The building blocks of this knowledge: Grace and Courtesy.
So how do we define “grace and courtesy” in the Montessori Tides classroom? Surely the skills of grace and courtesy are deeper and more substantial than simply teaching children to shake hands or hold open a door. They go to the core of how we behave toward one another and the world around us. Paying attention to lessons of grace and courtesy when children are young will benefit them greatly in every level of life, small and large. At a small level: within the heart of each person, in relationships, and within families. At a large level: in the community and throughout the world.
The attention we give to grace and courtesy can one day be the deciding factor in the construction of lasting friendships; whether or not someone lands the job; whether or not a marriage succeeds. In other words, grace and courtesy should promote harmony in every level of our existence and the time to learn is NOW while the child is at the youngest of age.
Over the next several blogs, we will travel inside the Montessori Tides classrooms to help break down the practical elements of grace and courtesy and show how these lessons are shaping our Tides children for life.