At two different moments during preschool today did I notice a spirit of generosity and helpfulness that I (unfortunately) don't get to witness as much as I would like. But the Montessori classroom is supposed to foster this helpfulness in children, and I am excited to see it in our classroom.
Norah was using the bathroom and asked for me to get her a wipe. I have a basket of pre-folded wipes that sits on the back of the toilet, and she had forgotten to get the basket down before sitting down. Before I could help her (and I am intentionally slow to help when I know that I am not REALLY needed) Lucy jumped up and went to help. She was extremely polite and gave the basket to Norah, "Here you go Norah...is that better?" And then when Norah was getting down and starting to struggle with her pants, Lucy again offered her 2-year old wisdom, "Do you need a little help with that? It might work if you sit down." It is SO much better to hear it from a fellow classmate than from me, the all-knowing adult. I much prefer it this way, because Norah did sit down and did get her pants back on by herself, and was very proud of herself for doing so. I wasn't needed at all!
Later in the day Lucy was working on sweeping beans on the floor (she had quickly mastered sweeping cotton balls on the table and the floor so she could sweep beans) and they had gotten all over the place. Gene was near and offered to help. They both worked together for quite a while to get the beans back in a sweepable pile. If I had asked him to, he probably would not have been so cheerful or stayed with Lucy for so long...as it is, it was his initiative and they were both pleased with themselves when the beans were back in the pile.