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Introduction to Grace and Courtesy

Montessori introduced Exercises in Grace and Courtesy in reaction to the young child’s need for order. The child has a need to know and to absorb the social structures in order to be more at ease in his environment. Grace and Courtesy lessons give the child the vocabulary, actions, and steps required for him to build his awareness and responsiveness of those around him. This in turn gives the child a better sense of orientation in his social structure.

The Primary Class is the perfect place to begin these Exercises in Grace and Courtesy because the child at the end of the First Plane of Development is not yet self-conscious. The child is therefore willing to try anything new and will then incorporate it more easily into his person.

Grace and Courtesy lessons are given to each child in the environment and usually in a group. This allows the child to have a clear understanding as well as a place to perfect himself with others. It is the Directress’s role to give the children the correct words, and the precise movements and steps. The child then fully absorbs the how, the when, and the vocabulary used in his environment to make life more pleasant for other and for him.

In the end, the child will have incorporated these graces and courtesies into his everyday life, which will allow for a more pleasant classroom as well as a more pleasant environment wherever the child may go.

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