New Church School teaches etiquette at afternoon teas
Updated: February 28, 2013 9:32PM
GLENVIEW — What’s a Park Avenue-worthy tea flavor at 74 Park Drive?
For tea party guests on a Feb. 22 snowy afternoon, hands down, or rather, sipping pinky finger up, was blueberry.
Yes ma’am, blueberry tea.
Mary Poppins would be ever so pleased.
The pre-kindergarten through second grade “Tea Party Project” has become a much-loved Glenview New Church School tradition for seven years.
“So no one has said anything about my hat,” quipped Leslie Levine of Northbrook (15-year resident), among adults who bested kindergarten-sized chairs in the polite company of Little Tikes.
Perfect for ladies-who-lunch Disney princesses.
“I like it,” replied one nappy youngster.
“What do you do after you put your napkin on your lap?” asked Sarah Berto, whose South African English accent complimented today’s lesson.
After the party, Berto, a kindergarten teacher and Laura Barger, second- and first-grade teacher, sat down to explain the mission.
“The message is to learn etiquette and social skills, table skills through having a lot of fun,” said Berto, Tea Party Project leader and a Glenview resident of 14 years.
“They (tea parties) are wonderful, wonderful vehicles for teaching a lot of skills,” said Barger, who assists with twice-monthly tea parties.
Barger, a lifelong Glenview resident, is a Glenview New Church high school system (1981) graduate.
“Everything is scaled to their size, the table, the chairs, all of the beautiful little china cups and saucers,” said Barger, cupping her fingers on her left hand to imply a small tea cup.
Real butter is used in homemade shortbread, a rotating dessert roster, handmade with love by childhood hands.
“The classes take turns, swapping back and forth between the kindergarten and the first and second grade,” said Barger, of baking duties.
On Feb. 21, the first and second grade baked. Next time, kindergartners will seek oven-mitt adult mentors.
“There’s the investment in preparing before something and carrying it through and finishing it off, which is really, the overlying skill,” said Berto.
“This (Tea Party Project) is a way that we teach them to slow down, take a time to look at what’s around you,” added Berto.
On this Miss Manners celebration day, Alice Goldberg, in her ponytail, red turtleneck and Navy blue jumper (ideal makeshift apron for dishwashing duties) announced, “I’m five and half.”
Goldberg prefers, “blueberry tea because it’s tasty.”
Her favorite cookies include chocolate.
“Today it was shortbread,” Goldberg conceded.
But shortbread’s okay, “because there’s sugar in it.”
Sugar cubes topped off Goldberg’s day but blueberry is always tops.