Manners are an issue parents and teachers are constantly thinking about. We expect our children and students to use wonderful manners but the difficulty is deciding how to teach good manners.
We read the book Manners in Public, (part of the Way To Be series) together. This is perfect for Daisy right now. We work hard to ensure table manners and basic please and thank you are executed correctly. But quite often I find I am reminding without really discussing the reason behind polite behaviour.
Reading this book together gave me the opportunity to discuss the issues in greater detail. Children characters are seen using good manners in common situations like riding on the school bus, walking in the neighbourhood and visiting a museum. The characters are shown using good manners and the consequences are implied through the illustrations. There is lots of scope to discuss why manners are important in each situation.
Applying the example of good manners to other situations is also easy. For example;
"Lorna does not shout when she spots her friend Cloe at the museum. She walks over to Cloe and says hello."
Daisy is renown for getting a little over enthusiastic when she sees a friend. She shouts their name loudly and often envelopes them in a huge hug. All this is quite normal for a 4-year-old of course but there are times when a quieter reaction is called for; in the library, a church and a waiting room to name a few. While I don't like to squash enthusiasm for life, good manners, for other people's ears, are rather important.
We discussed the difference between an inside voice and outside voice and also the importance of being aware of others and their needs.
The closing paragraph discusses karma; when you use good manners people will do the same for you.
Fun facts at the end of the book opens up the discussion especially if you have students from different countries and backgrounds. Examples of good manners in a variety of countries are given and led us to discuss how I offended students I was teaching in Rwanda by handing out papers with my left hand (I apologised later when I realised the faux pas).
I would recommend Manners in Public for parents, ECE's and elementary teachers. We enjoyed it...I read it 3 times in a row.