Ever seen a display of silverware during a meal and not know which is the salad fork? Winton Woods Elementary school monitor Kathryn Watkins answered that question and everything etiquette in her new after-school program “The Best Possible Me.” A 5-week training course with the sole purpose of teaching social etiquette to young ladies. Watkins taught how to sit correctly in a skirt “cross at the ankles, tuck to right, left over right” to walking tall and occasionally with a book on their head. Nine fourth graders were given the opportunity to learn and be coached in hopes of these polite behaviors becoming habitual.
“The course taught these young ladies how to sit, speak and integrate into a social environment with confidence,” said Watkins. “I brought in my own special dinnerware so they could practice knowing what utensils to use, how to set a table, where to place their napkin and how to chew appropriately.” Each week, the course covered a new topic. The agenda included the following: etiquette in public, at the table, on the phone, on thank you notes, at people’s residence, and for greetings and introductions. At the end of the program, each student received a certificate. The certificate reads as follows: respectful behavior, self-expression, self-esteem, self-respect leads to self-confidence. The true meaning of etiquette is always to show respect and kindness to everyone around you.