文 By: 許玉蓮 Hooi Yoke Lien
There is a dedicated set of tea brewing utensils for each child (sometimes two children, depending on the situation) who learns tea brewing with us. The entire experience is highly participatory -- the children are responsible for presenting the tealeaves for appreciation, turning over the teacups, lifting the teapot lid, pouring hot water from the thermal flask into the teapot and putting the lid back. When the tea is ready, they will pour it into the pitcher, and from the pitcher into one teacup after another. Then, they will put each cup onto a saucer and serve the guests, one at a time. With a smile or nod, they would say, “Have a cup of tea, please.” They will collect the cups when the guests have finished and put them back at the original place.
After brewing a couple of times, the children will become emotionally attached to their ‘very own’ sets of tea ware. Great care is shown so as not to break any item. It is indeed moving to see them lifting the cups with such an intense expression and delicate touch.
When the children have grown familiar with the layout of the tea utensils and tea brewing, they will become more alert to the concept of the right sequence and position. Soon, they will identify with the principle of ‘everything in its right place’. This awareness also helps cultivate the good habit of discipline in life.
Tea brewing is essentially a game of ‘presenting procedure‘; it emphasizes a step-by-step approach. This drills their memory; the children will become calm when they concentrate in the procedure.
With tea brewing and serving, the children will learn to respect and take care of the others. They will become more observant and are quick to offer tea to those who haven’t been served. We would request our guests to show your appreciation by nodding with smile, and saying ‘Thank You’ to the children when you are served – this will be the most rewarding moment for these children.