Williams/Ledger students learn proper manners in after-school club

Special to Leader-Press

Anyone who has ‘talked’ to Siri or Alexa or Google Home and Cortana knows how intriguing and addictive these devices can be. Children and adults of all ages are completely engrossed with their smart devices which can seemingly communicate with them. A person is not required to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ when we using voice assistants, and the problem is that children are forgetting their manners.  
Williams/Ledger Elementary has gone back to the basics and created an etiquette after-school club to ensure their students stay in the good graces of all they encounter. Paraprofessional Edith Natividad formed the club, open to fourth and fifth graders, two years ago. With a limit of 26 students accepted, there is a waiting list to get in the club.
“It is very important with this day and time that students are taught etiquette, especially at the table, either at home and/or in a formal setting,” said second grated teacher Melanie Craig who assisted Natividad with the club this year. “We hold weekly meetings where students learn different etiquette skills. These are wonderful skills that students are not taught in academic classes, so having a club like this is very beneficial.” 
The students learn how to greet each other at social settings, how to sit correctly at a dinner party, how to set a table for formal and informal settings, and how to properly drink from a cup with and without a straw.  
“It is such a fun club and it taught me to have manners,” fourth grader Madden Valois said. 
“This club was perfect because it taught us how to be a lady,” fourth grader A’arrah Paulk said.
Wrapping up at the end of this semester, the students’ etiquette skills were assessed by requiring them to create a proper place setting. At the school’s end-of-semester awards assembly, each successful student received a certificate of completion along with a formal plate, gold silverware and a cup to use at home.    
“Several of the parents said that they were going to let their children set the table for their holiday meal. It is very valuable to reinforce at home what these students have learned in the club so it becomes a habit,” Natividad said. 
According to etiquette experts, children learn good manners from their polite parents. So, parents have to set the precedent of saying ‘thank you’, even to an inanimate object like Alexa, in order to set a good example and raise well-adjusted and well-mannered children.

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