Best behavior: Crestview kindergarten students learn manners, fairy tales

Kindergarten students at Crestview Elementary School showed off their best manners at a banquet and ball Friday.

Bowing, curtsying, asking for a dance and letting the ladies go first were among the skills the students have learned as part of a six-week series of lessons about fairytales.

Teacher Jan Batson said students learn the parts of a story — setting, characters, good vs. evil plot — during the fairytale unit. Students learn etiquette, too.

“I use the fairytales to first teach setting, plot, the characters,” Batson said.

Students learn to identify which characters are good and bad, and which use good or bad manners. She brings in older middle and high school students to teach the kindergartners how to dance and how to treat the opposite sex.

Manners are one of those lessons Batson said she believes students might learn better from older students.

The lessons start in mid-January and culminate in a banquet and ball right around Valentine’s Day. In Batson’s class, students celebrated Valentine’s Day in a morning party, then parents came in to decorate the classroom while the students were in music class.

Parents stuck around to watch what may have been their children’s first dance. A few teary-eyed moms took pictures as kindergartners started the first dance, “Beauty and the Beast.”

Although boys had to politely ask girls for a dance the first time, the girls got a try during the second song.

Batson made sure every girl got a turn at dancing with a boy, despite unequal numbers of partners.

“We have 10 girls and eight boys, just like life,” Batson said, making sure that two girls who were not picked got to pick first the second dance around.

All of the students seemed to enjoy the dancing — even the boys.

After just a few dances, the students moaned when Batson said it was time for a break for more feasting on fruits, veggies, sandwiches and cookies, served with champagne flutes of apple juice.

Quietly, Batson mentioned she has autistic and English as a second language students, as well as one homeless student. But she beamed as she pointed out how well they were all getting along during the dance.

Two moms said they never expected to see their children dancing so early.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Mary Enns said.

She is mom to an only child, Brady. But she said he was very excited about the ball, even if she had not imagined him there.

“I am so proud,” Sonja Morgan said. “They’re doing great.”

Morgan said Batson did a great job of teaching the students how to ask for a dance, how to bow and how to be grateful.

A dad in the back of the room said he enjoyed watching his son, Nickolas Smith, dance around the room.

“I didn’t realize he was such a good dancer,” David Smith said.

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