Think about taking over fourteen pre-school age children three to five years old out to lunch by yourself at a restaurant and chances are it would be like awakening from a nightmare. That was exactly what Ms. Becky Dwinnell; Cook Inlet Academy (CIA) pre-school teacher did last week right in the middle of the lunch hour rush at the Duck Inn on K-Beach Rd. It was their final exam of sorts Miss Becky, as she is fondly known, told the Dispatch, “This is their final exam, the real world test of how well they have learned everything we have talked about in their restaurant etiquette class,” smiled Miss Becky her arms filled with more than fourteen coats and hats. Where did the idea come from to incorporate such practical training into her pre-school classes, “There’s nothing worse than going out to eat at a restaurant and get seated behind or next to a family of unruly kids. So I was challenged to figure a way to teach my students some simple, practical, restaurant etiquette that would be a blessing to their families and to them because they’ll probably get to go out to nice places to eat more often when they practice what they’ve learned and have fun using good manners,” explained Dwinnell.
As lunch time patrons came into the Duck Inn you could sense a bit of trepidation as they appeared a bit puzzled as to why so many little kids were all there at the same time, but with no noise or climbing over and under the booths they became confident and were seated and served lunch in a normal fashion. Actually, except for those who were texting at their tables the adults were louder than the kids. After checking out their menus they accompanied their requests to the waitress with, “Yes please and Thank you.” “We knew they were coming but nonetheless it was a little overwhelming but they were so cute and well behaved they were a lot of fun to be around. I’m super impressed at how well they are all behaving and how well mannered they all are,” said Alicia West, who was waiting on their tables. After 4-year-old Olivia ordered a grilled cheese she said that she had learned that the waitress then takes the order back to the kitchen where the chef makes her lunch and then the waitress brings it back to her, “she was very nice and smiled a lot too,” she said. “And we learned not to kick people,” added 4-year-old Jayden. The most popular menu item among the pre-schoolers hands down was a grilled cheese with fries.
“They all passed with flying colors and I’m very proud of them!” reported Miss Becky the next day. “A special thank you to the great staff at the Duck Inn who took such good care of us and the parents of course who helped to drive, without parental support none of these special outings would be possible,” said Dwinnell.