Teatime: A Montessori Tradition

During Montessori Education Week (the last week of February), Sonnet Montessori Children’s House students host High Tea.  They invite guests from our local community and spend the week preparing their classroom environment.  The day prior, they cut and make floral arrangements, create personalized place mats from doilies, and set the table.  They also continue to practice grace and courtesy skills they have learned and practiced during the school year: greeting and welcoming visitors, introducing themselves, table manners, and serving tea.  On the morning of the High Tea, they prepare cucumber sandwiches and tea to serve their guests.

Children feel a sense of pride and accomplishment at being entrusted to share this teatime experience with their guests, and this is often one of the highlights of their academic year!  We are so thankful to our special guests who took the time to share this experience with our Children’s House students!

This year, our Prior Lake school was pleased to host Mayor Kirt Briggs, City Manager Jason Wedel, and Tricia Wangerin from St. Catherine’s University’s Montessori Education department.

greeting mayor briggs of prior lake
A Children’s House student greets Mayor Briggs of Prior Lake, Minnesota

Our Lakeville school hosted Mayor Luke Hellier, Police Chief Brad Paulson and City Manager Justin Miller, in addition to Lakeville Chamber of Commerce President, Krista Jech, and Greg Steenson of St. Catherine’s University.

Children’s House students enjoy Teatime at our Lakeville school

Teatime in a Montessori Classroom

Teatime is a practical life activity in many Montessori schools and is a tradition still practiced today in the homes of many people from around the world. 

Teatime is an experience that allows the children the opportunity to use many different skills, including:

  • Grace and courtesy lessons (greeting guests, making introducing, inviting a friend to join them, making conversation, table manners)
  • Independence and confidence building: there is a great sense of accomplishment in showing community guests around their classroom, in addition to preparing for and hosting teatime
  • Concentration as children go through the multiple steps required in serving tea
  • Care of environment: preparing for the teatime by cleaning the classroom, washing and setting tables, sweeping the floor, carefully pulling chairs out then pushing them in, making floral arrangements, and more!
  • Whole-hand and finger grasping while using a serving tray, tea pot, cup, and tea bag, in addition to preparation of teatime snacks (spreading and cutting)
  • Balancing a tray and its contents
  • Dry (tea leaves) and wet (water) pouring

As we observe children, we see the vitality of their spirit, the maximum effort put forth in all they do, the intuition, attention and focus they bring to all life’s events, and the sheer joy they experience in living.

Dr. Maria Montessori

There is also a great sense of joy experienced by the children throughout their preparations and in the hosting of teatime. 

There is joy in response to the beauty and order of the arrangements and teatime service. 

There is joy in experiencing the respect from and a sense of equality with adults.

 There is joy in the anticipation and fulfillment of wearing their finest clothes, using unique porcelain cups and saucers, handling the delicate tea pot, and partaking in what is usually an “adult” tradition. 

The objects surrounding the child should look solid and attractive to him, and…should be lovely and pleasant…for beauty in the school invites activity and work.

Dr. Maria Montessori

Children’s House students pictured with Lakeville Mayor Hellier, Police Chief Brad Paulson and Lakeville Chamber of Commerce President, Krista Jech

Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.

Dr. Maria Montessori


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