Elbows off the table. Chew with your mouth closed. Use your fork, not your hand. Familiar refrains from many moms’ mouths…over and over and over. “Were you raised in a barn?!” Grandma Gertie and Aunt Agnes are quick to judge us by our kids’ manners, thinking social graces may seem as antiquated as VCRs. On the contrary, etiquette has its place in the age of electronics, and polite protocol extends beyond the white gloves and party manners of our past. From Beverly Hills, the storied city of propriety, kiddies can be schooled in the current codes of conduct, boosting both their conversation skills and self-confidence.
Beverly Hills Manners
Conceived by two etiquette experts with over 30 years combined experience, Beverly Hills Manners teaches modern kids how to behave politely. Most classes run about 90 minutes, are tailored for 6-12 year olds, and taught in small group settings at elegant establishments such at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and McCormick & Schmick’s. The do’s and don’ts of “Dining with Decorum” will give young foodies the tools to enjoy family meals and fine restaurants, easing anxiety over what to do when faced with varying sizes of cutlery. Dressing up for the part helps set the stage as all attendees adhere to a dress code of ‘proper dining attire:’ no jeans, sweat suits or flip flops. A multi-course meal with their petite peers adds to the fun of learning about different sized glasses, the proper way to break and butter bread, and what to do with yucky food they don’t want to eat. No doubt they’ll be excited to practice their table-setting skills at home.
Beverly Hill Manners also teaches an interactive workshop in “Young Ambassadors Etiquette.” The importance of eye contact and a firm handshake are covered, alongside accepted rules of personal introductions. While the kiddies partake of a formal luncheon, they’ll get all the tools to dine anywhere with finesse. The mini-diplomats get an exclusive tour of Beverly Wilshire’s bustling kitchen, then prep a sweet treat to take home!
Additionally, the company offers special programs, a Holiday Etiquette Tea at The Montage, in honor of Mother’s Day. The “Let’s Dance! Cotillion” workshop is preparation for formal dances and social events, and “Stand Out Interviews for Students” helps foster confidence and understanding of what to expect in the private school interview process. Group workshops can be organized if you’d rather plan your own politeness party. Founder/CEO Lisa Gaché has also created an app with etiquette tips for every occasion.
The Etiquette School of Beverly Hills
Offering instruction in Beverly Hills and Newport Beach, The Etiquette School starts the training early, with wee manners classes for children as young as 3. A ten-lesson course in the basic rules of protocol and manners is developmentally designed to build social and motor skills. The little ones will learn about polite dining behavior, as well as pleasant first impressions and proper telephone etiquette. Mini graduates fluent in tiny table talk will flash their completion certificates with poise and pride.
For the over-7 set, The Etiquette School conducts specialized sessions, hosted at private clubs and luxury hotels around town. Covering everything from appropriate dinner conversation to specific skills in the use of each utensil, elementary aged kids will become well versed in all areas of face-to-face social interaction. If you’re interested in devising your own curriculum, they will happily arrange private lessons in your own home for an hourly rate. Extra credit points to the parents who take a refresher from owner Kathleen Cover, drawing on her background in catering and weddings at the likes of the Four Seasons LA and The Beverly Hills Hotel.
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— Kim Orchen Cooper