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The Learning Zone

In this era of smart phones at the dinner table, texting instead of talking, self-indulgence and social media, how do we make sure our children are not losing the ability to conduct polite conversations and consider the needs of others?

Like most skills, basic social skills need to be taught.  As children enter school, and later the work world, manners and social skills are a requirement, not an option. The problem is parents try to teach these skills to kids who roll their eyes or don’t listen. This is where outside help is beneficial. The Fredericksburg Area Service League’s Junior Cotillion of Fredericksburg is an affordable nonprofit program that provides instruction in manners and etiquette for 6-8th grade students. Alea Bryar, President of the Fredericksburg Area Service League says, "Junior Cotillion provides invaluable instruction for middle schoolers by teaching them proper etiquette, good manners and ballroom dance. The students will have fun while also learning how to show respect and how to value themselves and others in a variety of social situations. Learning these social skills will help garner confidence in the students and will be a benefit to them not only now but throughout their lives."  All funds raised through Junior Cotillion of 51e7510b094869fef468bcb23112836d.jpgFredericksburg benefit local children’s charities such as Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Head Start, Fairy Godmother Project, Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, Rappahannock Refuge, Inc., Hope House and Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters. At Junior Cotillion, students learn and are given plenty of opportunities to practice practical skills such as:

  • How to introduce themselves and shake hands
  • Ways to engage in polite conversation and gracefully exit a conversation when needed
  • Writing “thank you”notes
  • How to receive compliments and react to unkind remarks
  • Telephone and computer etiquette
  • Table manners
  • Familiarity with formal and informal place settings
  • How to respond to an invitation

Research shows that teaching children manners and having them practice those manners will result in more empathetic and socially aware children. This is necessary for school success, but is also an important component in future job success. Lorrie Hummer, M.Ed., career coach at Parrish Learning Zone emphasizes, “Interview skills can be one of the most valuable skills students can learn. Most of their big life changes usually begin with an interview:  for their first job, college interviews, scholarship interviews, and school counseling interviews for classes and internships. Confidence is the most important element you can bring to an interview.”  This is not just manners instruction; it is crucial life skills instruction.

For more information on Junior Cotillion of Fredericksburg visit Fredericksburg Area Service League.

-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.

Parrish Learning Zone, LLC  
@parrishlearning | | Like us on Facebook
(540) 999-8759



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About Nina

nina parrish

Nina Parrish graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Following graduation from the University of Mary Washington, she received the Project PISCES scholarship to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where she completed her certification in Special Education for K-12 students with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance. After obtaining her license, Nina earned a Master's Degree in Education for School Counseling in grades Pre K-12 from Virginia Commonwealth University. Nina taught in the public schools in North Carolina and Virginia for 7 years. Nina currently owns, Parrish Learning Zone, a K-12 local tutoring service with her husband Jay, who is also a teacher. They live in Spotsylvania with their daughter.


Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches Visits the Past


If Pouches' experience at History Camp is any indication, your son or daughter will enjoy joining Washington Heritage Museums and the George Washington Foundation for History Camp in Fredericksburg. The week-long day camp will be held June 25-29, from 9:00 a.m. to noon each day.

Young historians discover American history with hands-on experiences as they walk in the footsteps where the history of Fredericksburg, and a budding America, was created. The camp complements the history taught in classrooms with activities such as soap making, code breaking, colonial crafts, penmanship and much more.


The opinions and/or views expressed on this blog represent the thoughts of individual blogger and not necessarily those of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine or any of its employees or staff.