Manners, politeness and being humble are characteristics of proper etiquette — imperative lifelong skills that will transform the lives of children.
Tenchy and Yvonne Salas, crusaders for proper etiquette, believe that these skills need to be enforced at a young age in order to induce children to become well-mannered adults.
Tenchy and her sister Yvonne have had extensive etiquette training in Washington, D.C., England, France, Spain and Switzerland. Utilizing this training, they have been sharing their knowledge with others for many years throughout South Florida and Latin America through their Etiquette Excellence program.
“We decided we had to create a vaccination against an illness called bad manners,” Tenchy Salas said. “It’s much-needed, because the more you know about your everyday manners, the better.”
They’re now bringing their expertise to the western communities, with an Etiquette Excellence program offered every Saturday at the original Wellington Mall.
The program will begin on the first Saturday of August and will consist of classes and workshops for children ages 6-12, with morning sessions from 10 a.m. to12:30 p.m. and afternoon sessions from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
The Etiquette Excellence program is designed to teach children various forms of manners, from refined table skills to polite social behaviors, as well as proper speech and dress. The program will also touch on the cultural aspects of refinement ranging from music to fine art appreciation.
This is an opportunity for busy parents to provide their children with knowledge of proper etiquette, Salas said. “Many parents might have the knowledge, but not the time to teach proper manners to their kids,” she said.
Through games and other activities, Salas and her sister introduce children to classical forms of music, fine art and proper dress codes. “Then their scope widens, and they become better human beings, more tolerant and capable of enjoying different things,” she explained.
The Etiquette Excellence program is more than just a way to teach children proper manners; it’s a way to transform their lives. “It’s introducing them to a more complex world,” Salas said. “Very often you find adults who tell you they don’t like opera, but how do they know if they never heard one and never heard the history of opera?”
Every week, the children will learn a different set of etiquette skills. “We can teach children to appreciate different types of foods, while putting the charm into it,” Salas said. “It’s not the same thing having a slice of pizza on a piece of paper as having it on a plate accompanied with greens. We make them appreciate doing it with class.”
The classes and workshops teach children the simplicity of practicing proper etiquette, “teaching them that it takes the same time to do it right as it does to do it wrong,” Salas said.
The program is set up into three levels. Each level includes a year of curriculum, including classes and workshops. After each level is completed, participants are awarded a certificate and are able to move on to the next level.
After the last level is completed, students who receive a certificate are able to become etiquette instructors. “We have other programs where, when they graduate from our three-level program, they can learn how to become teachers,” Salas said.
According to Salas, Etiquette Excellence is not your typical etiquette program. “It’s very relaxed, and not strict at all,” she said. “We want kids to have fun and enjoy what they are doing.”
The Etiquette Excellence program also teaches adults the fundamentals of etiquette. “We teach couples and all types of people,” Salas said. “For example, we just taught an etiquette class at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio about how to behave at a ball.”
The Etiquette Excellence program classes and workshops are conducted at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington, inside the original Wellington Mall, at the space previously occupied by Curves. For more info., visit www.etiquetaexcellencemanners.com or call (954) 655-8820 or (561) 255-0549.
Above: Etiquette Excellence co-organizer and instructor Tenchy Salas in front of the location where the classes are going to be held.