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Elementary-aged kids show off table manners at etiquette lunch

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Creator of the class, Amarimba Charles, shows a student how to manage his plate. Students learned about proper dining and table manners in the classroom and applied that at the event.
The fifth graders prepare to dig in their meal of baked chicken, macaroni pie, and mixed vegetables.
Prayers first: Students say grace before digging into their meals.
Charles showing students how to use cutlery.
Thumbs up: Students give the meal a solid rating.
Teachers serving students plates of food.
Lunch is served: Fifth grade teacher Ms. Hourihan serving plates of food to her class.
Satisfactory: From left, teachers Ms. Hourihan and Ms. Beckford, support the idea of children learning etiquette practices.

More than two dozen fifth graders got to test their dining and etiquette skills at a lunch event in Park Slope on Dec. 18.

Students from two classes at P.S. 213 enjoyed a full lunch meal at the “Etiquette Class Luncheon” held at the BK9 restaurant.

The youngsters learned earlier in the school year, the basics of practicing proper etiquette skills such as, appropriate greeting habits and having table manners, through an in-class workshop organized by the Tallom Foundation. One of the organization’s many interactive programs is “It Begins With Me,” — a two-month social and etiquette class introducing youth to simple exercises that familiarizes them with everyday manners to employ. The founder of the program, Amarimba L. Charles, is passionate about teaching etiquette to children and other educators are huge fans of it as well, said one teacher.

“It’s good that they get to have this experience because our kids do not often get to do something like this,” said fifth grade teacher, Kellie Hourihan.

The program’s conclusion ended with a lunch menu consisting of baked chicken, macaroni and cheese pie, and mixed vegetables. Charles assisted some students with cutlery, as they applied the etiquette knowledge they learned in class at the restaurant.

Aside from the overall consensus of the spicy chicken, many of the pupils were pleased with the arrangement — even sharing a few of their critiques on the food.

“I never tasted a macaroni like this before,” said fifth-grader Justin Florentine Vargas. “I like my mom’s better.”

And a few others did not like the food as much as they enjoyed the beverage options of cranberry and pineapple juice.

“I really love the cranberry juice,” said Liani Andrea Sanchez. “The cranberry juice is really good.”

The program and event resulted in an increased interest from students to take home their newly acquired table and etiquette skills to also celebrate the holidays and share with others, said fifth grade teacher, Deborah Beckford.

“I’m really happy they got to participate in this program because they get to learn how to do this themselves and teach their siblings,” she said. “A lot of my students are already talking about setting up the table for Christmas.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Updated 5:49 pm, December 20, 2018
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