Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy Book Review
Recently I purchased a new book by Deb Chitwood, Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy. This book is Montessori based, and describes how the lessons may be used at home or in non-Montessori settings. I am so impressed with the Montessori methods and have been reading and learning about the strategies. This book can be applied anywhere, even at home. I was delighted to find the elementary school sections were written to be read by children, and give precise information and steps to help them feel comfortable in social situations.
The holidays are coming up, and the parts of the book about greeting visitors, meeting new people, and table manners would be applicable right now. This book even reviews FORMAL table manners if your family is going to attend a more formal dinner. Which spoon and which fork should be used? This book has it covered. I also think adults could use this book as a quick check, too!
I worked with elementary children for most of my teaching career, and I think these sections of the book could be reviewed quickly before events such as birthday parties and having speakers in the classroom. What to do, appropriate questions to ask, and how to thank people are included. This book should be kept as a reference after a comprehensive read.
The book is researched based and detailed. Every social possibility is covered for home and in public. Bathroom manners in private and at home are important and need to be discussed in families; this book covers what to say during those discussions.
I like the suggestions about going above and beyond in different areas to let the children know that just the basic manners can be extended. While not required, “extra manners” will impress other people. For instance, if a child is an overnight guest, helping with dishes or setting the table will help the child to be welcome and perhaps invited again.
Deb suggests several ways children can learn this material, including role-playing. She says this is good for any age, and the more practice the more comfortable the children will be when the actual situations arise. The specific suggestions for preschool ages as well as elementary levels are different, and I think readers will find these VERY helpful for getting the information across. Parents may not have time to teach all these skills to their children, so these manners should be reviewed at school.
My favorite quote from the book:
“Dr. Montessori realized a young child has a deep sense of personal dignity. We can crush that sense by reprimanding . . . without teaching a child first. The sense can be protected and enhanced through exercises of grace and courtesy.”
Ages 2 1/2 through 6 are the perfect time to emphasize the teaching of grace and courtesy. One quote that stuck with me is that “During those years the child has a special receptivity to the learning of manners.” The child will enjoy learning about manners, as well. We do not need to feel children are too young to learn or that the information is beyond the scope of their understanding.
Deb Chitwood also writes a blog and has links that are referred to in the book. For example, this link is to a post reviewing gift giving and receiving manners post. ‘Tis the season and this book would make a lovely gift. The links in the book are like books within the book, so it is the gift that keeps on giving.
This is the link to Deb’s web page about this book for more information and where it can be purchased. I highly recommend it!