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Taken from Chapin Today– Online Update. November 11, 2009Etiquette, a proper good timeBy Andrew SeguinNew Yorkers are not known for their etiquette. In a city this big, gruffness trumps niceties. Even a “thank you” for a held door can feel as rare as hen’s teeth.

It doesn’t mean New York will always be that way, though — especially with Chapin students learning that treating human beings well goes beyond saying please and thank you.

Good manners can have a positive impact on society, and when they’re taught to young kids in a fun way, they catch on. That’s the thinking behind EtiKids, a program offered in Clubhouse, Chapin’s after-school program. Each week, Kindergarten participants meet with teacher Julie Tindell to learn a different aspect of etiquette, from introducing a new person to your friends to declining food you don’t like without offending the cook.

During a recent class, the students focused on writing thank-you notes to an anonymous person who had given them some stickers. Despite their young age, they had a thorough grasp of how these missives worked.

“Do you start a thank-you note with ‘Hey, lady!?’” Ms. Tindell asked. They supplied a resounding “No!” in reply. A better way to begin, one student suggested, was: “Dear Daisy, I loved the stickers. I’m going to give you stickers back.” A warm note with the promise of continuing affection. What could be better?

With this message as inspiration, the girls sat down to write their own thank-you notes on colored paper — adorning them, of course, with stickers. These notes weren’t addressed to an anonymous sticker-giver but to Mom and Dad, with appreciation for the dinner they would have that night at home.

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