“On behalf of the Department of Basic Education may I take this opportunity to thank you for pioneering the Manners4Minors program. The DBE evaluation has confirmed that the program is aligned to the CAPS Life Skills curriculum for Foundation Phase.” – Acting Director General, DBE
Manners4Minors is a program developed in South Africa, designed specifically for Foundation Phase children to introduce them to the benefits of universally acceptable good manners and social skills.
“Manners are a careful consideration of the feelings of others, irrespective of which fork you used.” – Emily Post
How did manners4minors start?
I have lived and breathed Manners4Minors since developing it in 2007 and am in absolute awe of the results it has achieved. I still pinch myself when I get emails of appreciation from parents & teachers! Truth be told, this started as a labour of love for one little boy who had been very harshly judged for not showing appropriate behavior … “No manners” they said. My heart ached because I realized that he simply had not been guided. I am so proud to be the catalyst to supporting and assisting children, parents and teachers with positive behavior management.
I am a Wife to the love of my life (33 years!), Mom to three beautiful children (aged 26, 21 & 12), a grandmother to my precious little Aaryn (so, yes, I understand the challenges of parenthood), a hard-working entrepreneur and I have been blessed with a yearning in my soul to positively make a difference (which influences me beyond all else). There are parents, teachers and schools out there who are aware of the benefits of raising a respectful, helpful, kind and considerate child!
“My daughter Cleo, has been attending “Manners4Minors” at Tiddlers and Toddlers for the last 9 months and cannot believe the good things she has come home with every week. Thank you for the positive influence you have brought her. What has been really interesting is how each lesson has stayed with her and she keeps reminding the family of what you should and should not be doing. For e.g. during dinner time, she will remind all of us to eat with our mouths closed and that she cannot answer a question whilst she has food in her mouth, as it is rude. She keeps us very aware of what ‘bullies’ are and how we should handle it. Also, she remembers what she is not allowed to watch on TV and how to look for it.
These are just some examples that have ‘stuck’ and have made my life as a parent much easier when she is able to associate manners in simple terms.
Thank you very much – it has been one of the best things my child has ever attended.”– Parent Feedback, Oct 15
As a Director of The Mountain Cambridge School (www.themcs.co.za) I chose Foundation Phase implementation because this is the most crucial stage of a child’s life and where, I felt, we would have the best chance of introducing these lessons with the best result (in the Window of Opportunity age). The rest, as they say, is history. From a little seed has developed a life-altering program that will affect many children and influence their ability to become effective citizens and future leaders.
WHY DID IT BECOME NECESSARY TO DEVELOP A PROGRAM LIKE THIS?
Upon reflection of the success with which Manners4Minors was received by children, parents and schools, I spent some time on the reason why a program like this would be necessary. Surely manners and social skills are taught at home? Basically, my research came up with a very simple answer: LIFESTYLE. Our lifestyles have changed and the environments where these skills where handed over quite naturally in the past (family dinners, Sunday family get-togethers, etc.) has, in general, diminished. This is due to a few factors:
- High costs of living have forced both parents to work and therefore the quality of time and parental supervision has diminished.
- Many single parent families exist where the parental role becomes pressured by time constraints, work pressures, homework deadlines and generally the stress of everyday living.
- Technology, televisions and gaming systems in children’s bedrooms have isolated them, with a grave impact on social skills, and have resulted in a decline in the time families spend together.
- Cultural diversity is to be respected at every level, but exposure to universally acceptable behaviour and etiquette is invaluable for every child.
- Our relationships with our children have changed. Remember the old days when children were seen and not heard? Our generation of parents have become FRIENDS with their children and invite their opinions and views. Our children are very welcome to take part in adult conversation and social occasions. This has resulted in a relationship which is open and honest but not one necessarily based on a healthy level of respect. Parents have become child–pleasers and instead of children wanting to make their parents proud, we have parents who are living up to the expectation of their children. We, somehow, have been conditioned to endeavour to meet our children’s expectations of us.
HOW DO WE MAKE SUCH AN IMPACT IN A SHORT SPACE OF TIME?
Miss Manners gives one weekly half hour lesson at schools. She is fun, interactive and extremely passionate about positively affecting each child she encounters. She, by nature, is optimistic and caring and this endears her to children. The overall objective for each Miss Manners is to demonstrate to the children what reaction they can expect when they use the good manner or life skill being presented, and the reaction they can expect when they don’t! By being well informed and educated, the children leave with a clear understanding of the choice they have and the consequence. Ultimately, if they make the wrong choice …. we have created CONSCIENCE because they know better.
This is achieved through the use of our four famous puppet characters and the connection of feeling what is expected: what does BRAGGING feel like? Do we like it? What does BEING PROUD feel like? This is the ultimate success of the program: Attaching FEELING to INFORMATION – the most common words spoken by a Miss Manners “And, how does that make us feel?”
Click here to Meet the Puppets and find out a little more about them.
Support resources include Home Merit Charts for parents, Songs, Poems, Colouring-In Sheets, Activities, Worksheets, Classroom Merit Charts for teachers and Star of the Week stickers for motivating participation. Emails are sent to parents sharing the topic of the week to ensure reinforcement/communication and various resources are shared. Click here to print our four puppets to colour in, cut out and stick on ice cream sticks for quick roleplay activity (using the script from Meet The Puppets). Notice how quickly the children relate simply to the characters!
“Your Star Chart, that works like a bomb, is such a gift and pleasure. I look forward to another year having my son do Manners4Minors, and when my baby is old enough for him to have the pleasure of Manners4Minors in his life too.”
– Parent, Oct 15
Ultimately, although we teach practical skills and behaviour management, we are establishing a healthy core value system of the child encouraging: Willingness to please, Consideration for others, Empathy, Respect, Self-confidence, Self-esteem, Kindness, Conscience ….
The topics covered are diverse and continues to grow. We address Emotional, Social, Personal and School social skills. Click here for Index
OPTIONS FOR PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS
Many children are starting school without the behavioural skills they need to learn and get on with their peers and this affects quality teaching. Teachers and schools are spending too much valuable time dealing with behavioural issues. Manners4Minors plays a major role in helping and assisting with behaviour management and education.
There are various options available to participating schools: Click here for Options.
“Manners4Minors has had a positive impact on the children at our school. On the playground and in the classroom the children are able to identify each other positive and negative behaviour by relating it to the puppets. The children are going home and telling their parents what they have learnt. This in turn helps parents at home, as well as the teachers at our school, as the Manners4Minors lessons are impacting on our children. We are pleased to see a variety of materials and teaching aids used in the Manners4Minors lessons, as this keeps the children interested and enthusiastic. They certainly look forward to their visit by Miss Manners. Thank you for a worthwhile programme and for ensuring that a large number of important topics are covered and taught.”– Principal of Bedfordview Primary School
As an introduction to what we do, Miss Manners are available to do one Free Workshop at interested schools. If you would like a demo at your school, please contact us.