Tea is a time honored tradition, not just in the American South, but all over the world. Universally, tea time is a way to connect with your neighbors, to make new friendships, and to make newcomers feel welcome.
Estes Hills Elementary is one of the few racially and socio-economically diverse public schools in the Triangle Area, which makes it a beautiful ecosystem to promote tolerance and connection, not just in the school, but in the wider community.
The children will make tea, from a garden they have grown themselves, and set up stands throughout the year, and serve tea to the community. Locations might include the farmers market, festivals, a busy morning outside the supermarket, or the street at the end of their neighborhood.
The children will connect with the larger community, make themselves visible, and at the same time offering something of value that they have invested in and feel pride about.
The tea can either be hot or cold, depending on the time of the year, and will be made from fresh edible ingredients from the school garden.
A few months ago, the garden was deserted, but thanks to a few dedicated parents and teachers, it has been transformed, with the help of the community. The Wild Bird Center provided a ten feeder bird tree. The Monarch project donated 5o milkweed plugs and certified the garden as a Monarch Waystation. Lowes donated 45 vegetable plants. Southern States and Fitch Lumber have also provided either discounts or materials to support, 'le petit jardin' - barely 100 square feet with almost 200 plants that will grow over the next few months, providing the important lesson to children that just because you are small, you can still inspire wonder.
Almost half the children (46%) of Estes Elementary are minority students, and 29% are economically disadvantaged. Tea time would allow these children to be seen as part of the community, just by using the simple and time honored tradition of offering a cup of tea.
Funded by Raleigh-Durham, NC (June 2018)