A couple years ago we had a group of children who were very interested in tea. I brought in a bunch of very fragile china tea cups to share with the children. I bought them second hand at goodwill for around .50 a piece. I bought the fanciest and most elegant looking cups I could find. I laughed to myself picturing all the shattered porcelain on our concrete floors… but how else can a child learn to be gentle,
aware, and careful if they are never given anything truly breakable?
Objects that are made for children are typically durable and plastic. It just makes sense to invest in things that aren’t going to break in case of an accident. I wondered though, what if we gave them a chance? What if I handed out the cups and explained that they were very fragile? What if I showed them how to hold the tea cups so gently as if they were baby bird eggs?
I couple weeks ago I wrote about trusting children with real tools and materials. I’m not saying that
accidents don’t happens and sometimes injury from learning the natural consequences of handling real objects.
I give the children hot tea in fragile tea cups. I let them pour tea from my own little tea pot. I have to admit at first I gave the children luke-warm almost cold tea but as time went on I started not watering down each cup with cold water. I poured tiny amounts of hot tea (not scalding or boiling) and taught
them to blow on it first. I always test it before handing it to the children but it’s great to see their cautious faces as they tip the cup up to their lips and then the look of delight and relief as a soothing warm tea touches their tongue.
As far as the fragile tea cups go, after two and a half years I
am the only one that has broken one! Whoops!
Several of the children have told me they also drink tea at home! What types of tea do you share with your kids? I would love to share it with our class!