‘Tis the season for turkey, decorating, and celebrating gratitude!
Thanksgiving will look and feel very different for families across Texas and the United States in 2020. But there has never been a better time for Montessori families to slow down, practice gratitude at home, and celebrate the true meaning of this holiday.
Are you looking to celebrate a productive, peaceful, and pleasant Montessori-inspired Thanksgiving that your entire family will enjoy? Let Meadow Montessori guide you every step of the way.
Why Do We Teach Gratitude in Montessori Education?
Young children, by their nature, are self-absorbed until they can learn to connect with others and the world around them. In the Montessori classroom, we strive to create compassionate, well-rounded individuals and a more peaceful world at large. Often, it begins by instilling gratitude in our children.
In the classroom, gratitude goes hand-in-hand with developing a child’s social skills, as well as their formal education. At home, teaching gratitude is something Montessori parents can strive to do every day in practical life situations, no matter the time of year.
We can vocalize our gratitude for people and things that are worthy of thanks. We can model our gratitude by acknowledging the actions of others, showing respect, and responding to situations with grace and courtesy. Parents can even instill gratitude in their children by encouraging household chores or empathy in sibling-to-sibling interactions.
By modeling and teaching gratitude to our children, we can teach them what it means to contribute to the family ﹣ and the world ﹣ as a whole, beyond their individual needs and desires. During Thanksgiving, a holiday that centers around gratitude and marks an empathetic, family-oriented time of year, it is, even more, the case.
Next, we’ll explore how your family can celebrate a Montessori-inspired Thanksgiving and practice gratitude all throughout the holiday season!
Prepare for the Holidays Together
You may have a shorter guest list to cook for this Thanksgiving. Even if your nuclear family plans to celebrate at home, get your children involved in the holiday preparation process.
Encouraging children to help out with household chores is a core practice in Montessori education. These activities teach practical life skills like cleaning, laundry, and cooking, They also instill responsibility in children and show them what they can be grateful for at home. Set the tone for a family-focused holiday by involving everyone in cleaning, preparing food, baking, and decorating.
Not all children show enthusiasm for helping out around the house. By focusing these activities around the holidays and involving everybody, including your spouse and other adult relatives, your children may discover a newfound spark of motivation. When other family members are courteous or helpful, comment on it and point it out to your child.
Practice Good Manners
A Montessori-inspired Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without plenty of good manners to go around!
Saying things like “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me” might already be commonplace in your family. With families spending more time indoors and in close quarters at home, disagreements, outbursts, meltdowns, and poor manners are bound to happen.
When a child acts out, parents can model calmness, courtesy, and respect. Parents can then redirect the behavior by showing their child how to react to the situation calmly and civilly.
You can also encourage your child to practice their manners at dinner, wait for everyone to speak, and only begin eating once everyone else has arrived at the table.
Create a Thankful Tree
Once the house is prepared and Thanksgiving dinner is in the oven, it’s time for some family fun!
This year, families can make a Thankful Tree and decorate it for both Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays.
Making a Thankful Tree is simple; send your children out into the backyard to pick out a fallen tree branch (or have an adult cut down a branch from a nearby tree.) Then, make cut-out leaves with colorful construction paper and have everyone write down what they are grateful for on the paper leaves.
Once everyone has finished making their Thankful leaves, attach them to the tree branch, along with ornaments, acorns, and other trinkets. You can even set up your family’s Thankful tree as the table centerpiece, on the kitchen table, or on the fireplace mantle. Families can also create their Thankful Tree out of construction paper, or stick their gratitude leaves in a jar.
This activity is not reserved for Thanksgiving, either! Encourage your children to write a Thankful leaf (or snowflake) every day leading up to the holidays.
Celebrate a Montessori-Inspired Thanksgiving in 2020
There may be less hustle and bustle this holiday season compared to previous years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While times have been challenging for the Fort Bend community and the world as a whole, we hope your family will enjoy a Montessori-inspired Thanksgiving to kick off a safe, happy, and peaceful holiday season and 2021.