Monday, January 24, 2011

Montessori Monday: Grace & Courtesy Lesson: Intros. When You're on the Go

Our whole family loves to travel, whether by land, air, or water...we are always up for an exciting, fun time.
When traveling, there are many opportunities for your child or children to meet other new children from all over the world.
What we have found is that it is a good idea to prep our sons for these chance encounters.
Before going on vacation, we practice introducing ourselves.
We remind them that they are to introduce themselves using their first names and as far as details to tell a new person, they are welcome to share that we live in the state of Florida in the country of the USA and if they care to share, the continent of North America.
They are not to give out their last names, their phone numbers, their address, etc.
We also try to get them to ask the prospective new buddy if the child speaks English or possibly French or Spanish. The boys are fluent in English but are starting to learn French and Spanish and can at least say a few things in these languages to a prospective new friend. They have also found that many times, even if a child does not speak English, French, or Spanish, that through body movements and gestures, they can understand each other to an extent...
If they become really good buddies with a particular child while we are on vacation and the children wish to exchange pen pals, we take care of this with the child's parents. We do not allow the boys to set up pen pals or give out their address on their own. We offer to do pen pal letters in English but have also offered to do them in French and Spanish, as long as the parents can help their children to interpret our attempts at these languages.

We explain to our sons that children you are just meeting for the first time do not need to know everything about you...just the basics like your first name, where you are from and maybe a couple of things that you enjoy doing, such as playing with Lego and building with blocks.

Then, we remind our sons to be sure to ask the new child they have met what their first name is, where they are from, and what they like to do.

We encourage them to be good listeners and to be sure to give the child or children plenty of time to answer.
Our sons are very multi-sensory kids. They like to talk, share stories, sing, dance, hug friends,  and share their snacks and toys.  When we practice introductions, we remind the boys that not all children like to give or receive hugs, nor do all children like the same sorts of it is best to wait until we all meet as a family before giving a new friend a hug or sharing a treat. Big Bro is more of a hugger than Little Bro if the child is older or a girl, so even though Little Bro is affectionate, he is more reserved when it comes to hugs than Big Bro. So, when we have the boys practice introducing themselves, we always highlight the fact that you have to wait until a person wants a hug or until their mom, dad, or nanny tells you that they may have some of your snack.

We also remind them that some children are shy, some children have special needs and in either case, these new children may not be up for telling you much about themselves, but to be friendly, kind, patient, and always give a smile when trying to meet a new potential buddy.  There are children who are differently able but who can also be great new friends if you are patient and get to know them as much as they want to get to know you.

We highlight that all children are children of God so right off the bat, you have that in common with them...and if you are patient and work at getting to know another child, they might have other things in common with you, especially what they might enjoy, even if they are totally different than you, they might like to do something different that you would enjoy doing if you knew more about it...

We have found prepping our boys before going into social situations with other new children has really helped them to feel comfortable with meeting new children. Hopefully, their ease with meeting new children helps to make other children feel at ease around them as well...
Big Bro and Little Bro ready to make some new buddies in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Best friends, best brothers waiting to meet new little buddies in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Making new friends may seem scary to new children, but it can be as fun as playing peek-a-boo behind this Junkanoo mask in the Bahamas. Big Bro and Little Bro had a fun time taking photos with this huge costume, although they were too little to reach the space for a head and had to be in the spaces meant for hands!
Best brothers, best friends hanging out in Atlantis Paradise Island, Nassau, the Bahamas.
Our sons recently had the chance to put their grace and courtesy skills in action while on a family cruise to the Bahamas.
They had the chance to meet children both on board and on land while on vacation. 
Our boys participated in the on board children's program on the cruise ship we were on and both had a wonderful time.They also had the chance to meet some children while we did our land excursions at Atlantis Paradise Island and other places.
Both boys were comfortable meeting new children of mixed ages and abilities.
They seemed to feel really good about the new buddies they had made.
Various members of the cruise camp staff commented on how well prepared and at ease they both seemed to be with meeting new children of all ages. They said that both seemed to work at making other children feel comfortable and relaxed when around them and that both were good listeners, both with the adults and when listening to what other children were saying.
This was a nice moment when Dear Hubby and I heard this, as you always hope that they will remember to put into practice what we have tried to instill in them at home.
When the camp staff asked us what we did to prep them for being with other children, I said that we just do little Montessori Grace and Courtesy lessons as part of our day to day and that that is what helps them to feel confident and respond positively to new friends of all ages and abilities.

If you plan to travel with your children, you might want to also prep them for meeting new children. Doing a little Montessori Grace and Courtesy lesson about how to introduce yourself is a huge help to your children and to those they might meet.

What do you do to prep your children for meeting new people?

Just a reminder: 
Tomorrow, Whole Lotta Love starts back up...

Giveaway # 4 will start tomorrow so be sure to pop back tomorrow to see more about this week's giveaways (Giveaways for this week will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).

This post is linked up with Montessori Monday at One Hook Wonder.

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!
***This program is for residents of Florida only...

More Gifted Program Details!

More Gifted Program Details!
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