Thursday, June 19, 2014

Social skills to practice for the pre-k & kindergarten primary classroom

One of the first lessons will be what kind of voice is appropriate for the classroom. Model this as a whole group lesson, again and again, and maintain the softness of voice at all times. The teacher must abide by this habit as well, if it is to be effective. 

The second important lesson will be how to express a need for help. Tell them, You can say, please help me. Counsel them on who would be a good person to ask for help. It can be peers and to the teacher. Give them the language to say, I am unable to help you. Maybe you should ask ---.  They need the words. When you hear children yelling, "Stooooop!" they need more language to help them. What are the words for giving and receiving gifts? They do not know unless we model it.

Quite often, children are giving and receiving pencils. When you are giving, think of the other person. Give it to the person in a way that they can get it and straight away begin writing. Teach students to pass the pencil to her hand in the position where she can grasp it and begin writing; pass it in the writing position. If they are passing a pen, include kindness in the gesture of passing a pen open, into the hand as if it were about to be used in the hand.

Students will be in the position to give and receive gifts. Another lesson is practicing the social customs for giving and receiving gifts. Give them the language to offer the gift kindly and ways to accept it graciously and offer thanks. Have a practice tray with a card and a birthday gift, to practice exchanging.

Students will practice offering a cup of tea. Visitors to the class will be offered a cup of tea by the older children with the most motor coordination. Show children how to offer the teacup with the spoon on the saucer, as well as passing the teacup with the handle on the left. Allow every element of practice to demonstrate thoughtfulness to the receiver of the gift.

Since students are so curious, model how to observe watching another child receive a lesson. Stand by while two students model giving a lesson to each other with invisible lesson materials. The teacher stands by, as a student, with the hands behind the back, not standing too close, not interfering with the lesson. Model giving space to the children while they work. They are in the sensitive period to touch, so the space is an aid to their respect to the materials of another child.

Also explain to the children that if the lesson is very attractive to them, they can express their wishes, I really like that, and I want to learn that lesson. If it is not time, and the observing child is not ready for that lesson, the assistant can redirect that child to another work that is more suitable to them.

Develop a culture of solving one's own problems as much as possible. Encourage children who can tie shoes to help tying the shoes of the little ones. The older ones can eventually chose for themselves when they want to help.

Jeannot Jonte Boucher is a Montessori educator and parent in Dallas, Texas. 


  1. You have an interesting blog. thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts

  2. Thank you, sir. I hope they are useful to you.