Why I Love Montessori by Gina Abegg, A.M.S., Co-Director
Children and Service
Montessori-raised children grow up with a special sense of community. This starts with appreciation of their place in the home and school and grows into a respect for meeting their own needs and also caring about the needs of other people, plants and animals, and evolving into a true sense of earth stewardship.
Many everyday lessons are taught through grace and courtesy lessons, where children learn to use manners, move without hurting others, speak in a respectful tone, etc. Values such as kindness, fairness, and respect for differences are integrated into practical living activities as well, where children learn to create community meals, be responsible for their own work, help younger students, tend gardens, care for classroom animals, tweeze sunflower seeds for the winter birds, etc. The Golden Rule, taught here as Treat Others as You Would Like to Be Treated is a regular reminder of the way we choose to live together. Little acts of kindness become habits when the opportunities are regularly there and holidays give us the chance to give gifts, decorate, and send cards, as well.
A wonderful extension of this is the opportunity to do service to those in our greater community. This December there are two great opportunities for the children to be kind to others. The children prepared gift-giving ornaments for our Giving Tree. Starting December 3, families had the opportunity to select a gift request for a parent or child from the Denver Safe House. When children help to pick out the gift or give something they no longer need to help others, it is an opportunity to reinforce both generosity and gratitude. We learn to be grateful not only for what we have but also for our ability to share. Our families have been incredibly generous.
On Dec. 18, the primary children, under the guidance of Julie Robuck, our music teacher, will be sharing holiday music with elders at the Victorian House, an activity we hope to repeat through the year.
This year, we will be collecting canned goods to contribute to the Parker Task Force food bank in March, to remind the children to think of others throughout the year, not just at holidays. In the spring as we recycle, compost and care for our gardens and share food grown, we will have the opportunity to practice service to the earth.