Students Celebrate High Tea With Community Guests

Students at Sonnet Montessori celebrated Montessori Education Week February 24-March 1st, 2024.

From learning about Italy (the birthplace of Dr. Maria Montessori), to talking about peacemaking, to practicing the grace and courtesy lessons learned over the course of the school year, to the highlight of observing “High Tea” with special guests from our community, it was a week enjoyed by teachers and students alike!

The children enjoyed introducing themselves to special guests at their annual “High Tea” the end of Montessori Education Week, assisting in serving tea and preparing cucumber sandwiches. They observed a presentation on the parts of the tea pot and the practical life exercise of pouring tea. They loved when the community guests read a story to them!  And of course, they enjoyed drinking peppermint tea and sampling the sandwiches they carefully prepared the morning of the event.

mayor kirt briggs at sonnet school
mayor kirt briggs visiting sonnet school

Above, the students of our Prior Lake Children’s House classroom welcomed Mayor Kirt Briggs and City Manager Jason Wedel to their classroom.

mayor luke hellier at sonnet school
mayor luke hellier reading at sonnet school

Above, the students at our Lakeville Children’s House classrooms welcomed Mayor Luke Hellier, Police Chief Brad Paulson, City Administrator Justin Miller, Lakeville Chamber of Commerce President Krista Jech and Greg Steenson, Associate Vice President of the College for Adults & Graduate Studies at St. Catherine’s University.

Why Teatime?

Tea time in the Montessori classroom is a beloved tradition, and is a practice enjoyed in many cultural traditions around the world.

As with all of the exercises in our classrooms, tea time serves a direct purpose (the enjoyment of tea) and indirect purposes. The indirect purposes include:

  • Grace and courtesy lessons of introducing oneself, inviting a friend to join you for a meal, table manners, conversing, and greeting guests
  • Fosters independence as children discover they are capable of serving tea and entertaining a “guest”
  • Builds concentration as children follow a sequence of steps throughout the activity
  • Caring for the environment: children enjoy preparing for the tea time by sweeping the classroom, scrubbing tables, making doilies and floral arrangements for centerpieces for the tables
  • Strengthens the whole-hand as well as finger-grasping as they manipulate the tea pot, cup, tea bag, and as they prepare the tea time snacks which require them to cut, grate and spread.
  • Balance as they carry the tea tray to and from the table
mayor visiting sonnet school

Grace & Courtesy: Introducing One’s Self

This is one of the basic grace and courtesy lessons that a child is introduced to and practices in the Montessori classroom.

The teacher will present the lesson with her assistant teacher or another child, letting them know that when we meet someone for the first time, we introduce ourselves by saying hello, followed by telling the other person our name.

The teacher will stretch out her right hand to her assistant and say, “Hello, my name is __________.”  As she speaks, she will maintain eye contact and a friendly, relaxed expression.

After the teacher presents the lesson, she often invites other children to practice.

Many teachers also make it a habit to get down at the child’s level, and greet them each morning with a warm handshake and a “welcome” or “good morning”. 

During the High Tea Celebration at Sonnet, children were so proud as they introduced themselves to their special guests and welcomed them to their Children’s House classroom!

police chief at sonnet school
visiting sonnet school children

Practical Life: Tea Pouring

A practical life activity that children enjoy is tea pouring. The teacher first presents a lesson on the parts of the tea pot, including the lid, the spout and the handle. She also explains that the teapot is usually made out of a special white clay material called “kaolin” that is shaped, glazed, and then baked in a very, very hot fire until it is firm; it is called “porcelain” or “ceramic” and it is very fragile, and because of that we have to handle the teapot very carefully so that it doesn’t break. She also explains that the tea pot contains hot water, so we pour it very slowly and carefully so that it does not spill on us.

She then demonstrates the proper way to pour the water from the teapot into the cup.  She holds the handle with her right hand, then gently places her left hand over the lid to secure it as she slowly tips the spout over the tea cup and pours in just enough hot water.

This exercise was enjoyed by the children in our classroom during their High Tea celebration.

tea time at sonnet with young girl
police chief having tea with children at sonnet
crackers time at sonnet school
tea time at sonnet school

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