When to Introduce Grace and Courtesy Lessons

In a Montessori Classroom or home, Grace and Courtesy lessons are continuous and vital building blocks that create a peaceful and cooperative environment. By giving brief grace and courtesy lessons each day, children become mindful of what they are doing in the classroom and at home as they move through their daily routines.

Be an Example

The lessons can be more formal at times but mainly they are just examples of how to do things and are simply stated. For example, a teacher, guide, parent or caregiver might say, “I’m moving the chair quietly” or “I am returning my work where I found it” These simple examples allow a child to observe then practice what you are doing. Without even inviting the child to practice the activity, they begin to practice because children want to copy what they see others doing.

Grace and Courtesy lessons teach everyday social customs and kindness which are vital practical life skills for children to practice daily.

It’s important to show a child by example how to extend an invitation, how to decline an invitation, how to ask if you can join an activity, how to enter a room, how to wash hands, how to clean up after themselves and how to extend an apology.

“We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit. It is the teacher’s joy to welcome the manifestation of the spirit.” -Dr. Maria Montessori

Check out our chart for ideas and approximate times by age to introduce certain grace and courtesy lessons to your child. You can certainly introduce lessons at any age, but we find that this guide gives you a pretty solid timeline for appropriate lessons based on a child’s ability to understand certain concepts. With that said, always follow your child! :)


What kinds of Grace and Courtesy lessons do you practice in your homes?

Introducing Practical Life Activities to Children

How Can You Introduce Practical Life Activities to Children?

Practical Life is the foundation of a Montessori program. It is the gateway to learning for young children and such a simple yet important part of a child’s early years!

We usually start children doing practical life work and tasks around the age of 18 months. Some children will begin showing interest a little earlier or a little later. Use this chart as a guide for things that are appropriate to introduce your child to during certain stages and age brackets. We’re sure that you’ll find many other activities to do with your child too as you follow his/her lead!


The Importance of Giving Lessons

Giving lessons or allowing a child to observe gives him/her opportunities to “practice” the task and are key elements in Montessori environments.

  1. Prepare the environment or work/tasks that you are introducing
  2. Give the lesson
  3. Stand back and observe

We like to work alongside our children when appropriate like while doing dishes, folding laundry, etc. We work on the task without giving much input to how our child is doing his/her task so that they can practice with confidence.

Remember, only step in when your child asks for help or they are doing something that could be dangerous. Let them explore as much as possible.

Also….and this can be a tough one but, resist the urge to refold the towels or rewash the dishes. Allow your child time to learn themselves even if the steps and movements aren’t quite there yet… They will come! Practice makes perfect. Well, perfect for them and their growth and learning that is.

You’re a Guide

Finally, keep in mind that most activities that you will do with Toddler aged children (18 months- 3 years) will be done with guidance from the adult. Once a lesson is given, work alongside your child giving guidance as necessary but still allowing for a lot of freedom of movement. As they near the age of 3, they will be very comfortable with these tasks and will be able to do them with very little to no adult guidance. This is where Maria Montessori’s words of, “Help me do it myself,” comes into play.


To learn more about Practical Life in Montessori check out our post, The Importance of Practical Life.