Last week, kindergarten teacher Rachel Baldwin gathered her group together after their return from an outing on campus. She said to her class, “Finley has something to tell you.”
Finley stood in front of his peers and stated, “I held the door open for all of you, and only two people thanked me … and they were teachers!” His disappointment was evident, and his friends were sad. After that, it was reported to me by one student, the kids said thank you all of the time.
Manners! At Greenhill, manners are the guides we use to help us all get along, and respect for others and manners go hand in hand. It doesn’t take long for our youngest students to understand this concept, and, as you can see, become their very own enforcers.
Manners are not automatic. Emily Post stated that manners can be learned. Kids are not born knowing “please” and “thank you” – at least mine weren’t. Pre-school teacher Greg Browne-Nichols values manners so much that he begins his year with our youngest students learning manners.
Greg is really teaching “how to go to school.” Each day, students thank each other for sharing an item from home. They learn how to greet people, saying good morning and shaking hands. They practice table manners, checking to see if everyone has gotten a snack before they can all eat. They share clean up duties. I even observed Spanish teacher Beth Stromberg demonstrating “Perdόn” in Spanish following some very amusing bodily noises.
To Greg, the respect that good manners embody is essential to learning at school. Good manners pave the way for a sense of community and the understanding that each of us has worth and a place here at Greenhill. Later this fall, Greg and his students will invite their 6th grade buddies down for a manners party where they will demonstrate what they have learned. I am positive that the 6th grade teachers will thank Greg and his students for the reminders, as it seems that good manners may come and go without some nurturing, but it is good to know that the seeds are planted. What better way to bring life to our Core Values of Honor, Respect, and Compassion.