Woodland Heights Second Grade Students Enjoy Elegant Tea Party
Article by: Sara Musgrove
“Once upon a time, when my daughter was little, she would come running in and state, ‘I have good idea.’ I have good idea,” Kimber Bennett’s email began. Bennett, the Woodland Heights Elementary school counselor, meets with all the elementary students throughout every week, and in her meetings with the second-grade students, the idea blossomed to throw a tea party. “We started discussing Woodland Heights being a castle, our Diggory Doo (our dragon), and the Cousin Crew. We talked about how we have all been busy teaching the Cousin Crew all kinds of behaviors to help them be successful. Our conversation went a number of directions and it ended up with how cool it would be to have a tea party!” Bennett had been working with the second-grade students on manners – finding and creating success through polite words, kind treatment of others, and making good decisions. After receiving a thumbs-up from the teachers who could offer about forty-five minutes of class time one afternoon, Bennett emailed the second-grade parents to seek interest. Twenty-two parents responded to affirm help, and plans began. The parents split up into teams to accomplish the various tasks of creating invitations, planning a menu, and securing decorations.
On Thursday, May 5th, 2022, ninety-three second-graders filed in to the school cafeteria, their eyes lighting up at the tables decorated with ornate lace tablecloths and silver plant stands adorned with ferns and greenery. The students had received their invitations the previous week, and were asked to wear fancy clothes and hats. Some girls wore flowing dresses, gloves on their hands, and some boys wore ties around their necks. Big floppy hats, ribbons, flowing scarves and boas and headbands provided headwear for most tea party goers. Each table offered a variety of quartered sandwiches, scones, cupcakes, and crackers and meat and cheese. Students sipped lemonade in their fancy plastic tea cups, asking, “May I have some more lemonade, please?” and then responding, “Thank you so much.” Bennett greeted each student and reminded them of proper tea etiquette—pinkies up, of course. “My daughter woke herself up and got ready by herself this morning,” said Amy Hamilton, one of the volunteer moms. “I’d say she’s excited about this.”
Two photo areas had been set up to allow students to get their picture taken with a decorated wall and props. Within forty-five minutes the tea party wrapped up, tables cleared, and snacks devoured. Each child had a photo taken to commemorate the event.
Bennett emailed the volunteers afterward. “The kids have been so pumped about this tea party and when I had the honor of hugging and greeting them as they walked in--their eyes said it all--they were in total awe. They talked about their hats for weeks, many described their outfits they were planning on wearing, several researched tea parties to let me know how to act, grandparents coached them on how to hold their cups, and every single kid was excited. A parent asked me today regarding the tea party, ‘Is this what you pictured?’ My response was, ‘No, it was more than I even imagined!’”
These second-grade students lost half of their kindergarten year to COVID closures. They did not get the usual end-of-year excitement that kindergarteners get – no field day, zoo trips, or graduation. Their first-grade year was rife with protocol, rules, and stress. But their second-grade year wrapped up with pure magic. And not magic that is illusion and trickery, but the magic of teamwork, the creative passion of educators willing to try new ventures, and the willingness of parents to be an active element of their students’ lives. It showcased the magic of early childhood education, where school proves to be a place of innovation, laughter, and delight. This tea party serves as a happy memory for these students to remember smiles, sandwiches, and the spirit of a genuinely good idea.
Above: Avery Richmon enjoying her beverage at the party. (Photos by Karina)
(Photos by Karina)
Above: Damion Padron smiles for the camera. (Photos by Karina)
(Photos by Karina)