A bit more than good manners

The question of aid to the weak, to the aged, to the sick, for example, now arises [for elementary-age children]. If, up to the present, it was important not to bump someone in passing, it is now considered more important not to offend that person. " —Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence

We can make a positive impact on the world by introducing children to the practices of Grace and Courtesy, which sadly seem to be too often forgotten in today's society. If you're feeling discouraged about the current state of civility, be on the lookout for courteous actions that may be taking place around you, such as someone holding the door open for another. Even small acts of kindness can inspire children, and all of us to remember our shared humanity.

Maria Montessori wrote brilliantly about giving lessons to children in Grace and Courtesy, including care for self, others, and the environment. Children in the Primary Montessori classroom have the opportunity to practice waiting their turn, serving food, accepting or declining what's offered, not disturbing others, and more. We can help elementary-age children take the exercises of Grace and Courtesy to a new level, reflecting their interest in social morals and justice.