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Added Oct 11, 2016

Montessori Monday: Serving Snack to a Friend

The Montessori philosophy prescribes that children are inherently good, that they are inherently peaceful and that they are inherently motivated to learn and grow. As such, we try to prepare classroom environments that allow for the natural development of children, preserving those qualities we think are intrinsic to them and allowing them to strengthen the skills they'll need to be independent learners.

As such, each material in the classroom is presented with a carefully designed lesson, which breaks down the procedure of the material into manageable steps. Children, then, can accomplish a wide variety of activities independently or with simple assistance, and come to think of themselves as capable contributors to their classrooms, helping to preserve a peaceful climate and to bring the best out in their peers.

The process for serving snack to a friend is a great example of this. Broken into simple steps that children learn to master, serving snack to a friend allows for the development of grace and courtesy skills, managed fine motor control in serving and pouring, self-restraint in waiting for everyone to be served, and a camaraderie among the children as sit to break bread together. While we know having a snack is an essential part of the children's day, having that snack in an environment of graceful calm, serving each other and offering thanks for the service elevates the practical need for sustenance to an opportunity to care for each other and to build our social ties. At this early time of the year, serving and enjoying snack together helps both to make sure children's basic needs are met and to create opportunities for children to slow down and build friendships together.

Encourage your children to be involved in similar ways at home. Children can help to set the dinner table, or can walk around the table to offer a dinner roll or napkin to each seated member of the family. Children can spoon out servings of food from the table or pour drinks from a small jug into glasses. It may not be tidy at first, but model patience. Give your child time to do it on his own or her own and, if a mistake happens, peacefully help them to address it. With simple modifications, the grace and courtesy lessons of the classroom can be incorporated into your home routines, with the same goals and outcomes of more peaceful, social and joyful time together.

Catherine McTamaney, Ed.D.

Christopher Academy Alumna

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