Parents and other adults we encounter, often remark how kind, mature, and collected our preschool students are. Montessori places a major emphasis on intra-personal and inter-personal skills in a part of the curriculum called grace and courtesy.
Dr. Montessori believed that each child develops according to a natural timetable built into this very being. Children ages 3-6 typically prefer to work by themselves for a good part of the day. They might work right next to each other, but usually, they weren’t interested in collaborating. Dr. Montessori also observed that as the child gets older and enters elementary school (ages 6 and up), children naturally begin to become more social, and interested in learning with and from each other.
That’s why in our preschool programs, children are left alone to work by themselves when they so choose. Our elementary school program is structured around regular work in pairs and small groups. Instead, children learn to become good citizens in our preschool environments by practicing specific skills and following the rules of our community. They learn, for example, to:
Greet the teacher and each other with a handshake and good eye contact.
Use words to express their feelings, and to speak politely to both teachers and peers alike.
Respect each other’s personal needs and workspaces.
Work together to maintain the class community environment.
Follow directions and participate in group activities.