Published 11:29 pm Thursday, April 18, 2013
Though both featured students eating food, Creekside Elementary School’s lunchroom and library have been poles apart this week.
While the rest of the school has jostled in line for their daily bread, third-graders have learned European-style table manners with Kim Richardson, the school’s media specialist.
The weeklong tea party, in its fourth year, is dubbed Etiquette Du Jour at Royal High Tea — Manners Matter!
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Students wore casual attire for dress rehearsals last week, but have been coming to school for this week’s main event in pressed shirts, bowties, feather boas and even gloves.
“This provides children a chance to learn how a table is set, how to be respectful and kind to one another, being a good citizen, and to know how to use French and utensils,” Richardson said.
“Knowing how to put a napkin on your lap and how to use it, being a gentleman and treating a lady with respect” are important lessons for children to learn, Richardson said.
“The ladies learn to be graceful. We are using real China, we are listening to classical music, and we are learning French.”
Students haven’t been the only ones dressing up for the event; so have the many parent volunteers who serve the food and beverages, clear tables and correct any uncouth behaviors as they appear.
Though the atmosphere in the library has seemed a little out of this world, with boys pulling out girls’ chairs and tea cakes nibbled rather than wolfed, valuable lessons are being learned, according to Richardson.
“This is to help them be prepared for real-life situations, because they will be dining in restaurants,” she said.
“So far, we like to think it’s making an impact in the lunchroom.”
Several businesses and groups have helped with the tea party, Richardson said, including St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Nansemond River Baptist Church, Outback Steakhouse and Food Lion.