Do you remember tea parties? I have a very vivid memory of my first tea party with real tea. It was at a neighbour’s house.
My friend’s Mom asked if I had ever had real tea before and when I told her no she decided it was time for me to be part of this grown up experience. I’m not sure what I expected it to taste like but I do know I was very surprised by the strong flavour and the lack of sweetness even after I added some sugar. I think about 5 teaspoons would have matched my desire for sweetness but two teaspoons was the limit. I am fairly certain I didn’t finish the tea but that did not matter. I had participated in part of the adult world and that was something to celebrate!
Fast forward to the present and myself as a preschool teacher. When I look at the photo, I know based on my own experience how much fun these children had. E was walking around inviting everyone to come to the party and showing us where to “sign in”. She started by inviting the teachers in the room but then began asking children to join them at the tea party as well. This really helped the children with their social skills. It was great to see them taking on different roles to make the tea party a success. And I knew it was memorable when K told her Mom as soon as she walked in at pick up time… “We are having a tea party!”
What learning opportunities are present for children who engage in tea parties?
- the opportunity to take on roles
- the opportunity to practice communication skills
- the opportunity to practice social skills
- the opportunity to explore the adult world
- the opportunity to experience well being and belonging
When I look at this photo, I realize I missed an opportunity. I will be sure to pick up on it next time. Just imagine if I had given them a little water for their tea party. They could have some real practice pouring the water. And what if I gave them some cards to make invitations to their tea party or a clip board and a pencil for their ‘sign in’ sheet. Ah well, I have a feeling there will be a next time. And when the next time hits… Teacher Cindy will be ready!
We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience. -John Dewey