|"Snack" is a new work in our classroom. Learning basic manners and how to chit-chat are the goals of this work.|
A lot has been said about the decline of manners in modern America. For at least the past 25 years things have been slipping, getting so bad that now parents who seldom have time to sit down to eat dinner with their own children will pay strangers to teach their children mealtime etiquette!
Maria Montessori established "Grace and Courtesy" works long before TV dinners and fast food drive-thrus. In a typical Montessori classroom children learn to greet one another, how to clean up after themselves and how to settle disputes. The "snack" work we've recently introduced in our Montessori Mornings serves to underscore not only the lessons on manners, but also helps the children to learn to make small talk (another talent that's gone by the wayside, it seems).
Here's all that we do:
- Make goldfish crackers available in a dry snack dispenser (or dairy-free crackers for those with allergies)
- Supply small (cheap!) glass plates and shot glasses (the plates came from Old Time Pottery and the shot glasses were from TJMaxx)
- Leave a glass pitcher of water
- Supply small cloth napkins (I cut down IKEA's and hemmed them)
- Optional: A box of conversation starters I found free online
Usually two buddies will try to sit down and have snack together. Rules: Bottom on the chair, napkin on the lap, elbows off the table. Wait until you both have food on your plate to begin. Try not to talk with food in your mouth (we moms do a role play where we accidentally catch ourselves doing this, and then correct ourselves out loud). Take turns talking. Limit to one snack serving per day. This might take about 10 minutes from start to finish, and after a time or two you can introduce the "washing up" phase.
As of today the children know how to clean their dishes. Here you see a new boy carrying his glassware VERY CAREFULLY all the way to the washing area on the other side of the house.
|Easy does it!|
|"I think I can.........I think I can..."|
|He never did drop anything!|