Each year the Primary classrooms celebrate the holiday season by sharing in a delicious breakfast as well as gifting books to one another. Over the years we have found this to be a highly anticipated and enjoyed event by the children and teachers!
There are many benefits of this event that relate to our Grace and Courtesy curriculum (and some that are just for fun!). Within the Montessori Grace and Courtesy lessons, children learn tools to use when navigating social friendships and strengthen skills to collaborate with others.
Here is a list of a few of the skills taught:
Greeting or saying goodbye to another person
Accepting or declining an invitation
Helping a classmate
Inviting a classmate
Observing a friend work
Waiting for help
Including children in the shopping process of buying a book for their friend gives them the opportunity to think of their friend’s likes and dislikes. This will help to build and strengthen empathy in the child. Additionally, allowing the child to wrap the gift and create a handwritten note builds self-confidence and a sense of pride when they present the book to their friend.
The act of gifting the book is typically done at circle. During this time children practice saying ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’. For a teacher, this is the best part of the whole event! It is so heartwarming to watch the children deliver the books to their friends. The sheer joy and happiness they exude during the book exchange is the highlight of the year.
Once each child has received a book, it’s time to eat! The children continue to work on their Grace and Courtesy skills during breakfast. This includes the practice of accepting and declining food, saying please and thank you, and using proper table manners.
I hope your children enjoy the book exchange as much as we teachers do! Please make sure to check your child’s classroom photos to see the day in action!