Youth embrace tradition

2012-09-03 00:00

AS birds prepared their nests and bees investigated fresh flower buds, boys and girls got an opportunity to mingle by playing the genteel game of croquet at the Pietermaritzburg Croquet Club on Friday.

The Grade 4 pupils from Cordwalles and The Wykeham Collegiate schools have an annual event where they learn about Victorian games, how to mingle socially and discover the games of croquet and bowls.

The event usually coincides with spring and they have a chance to dress up in Victorian style clothes and to learn something about those times.

Girls embraced the opportunity to raid mom’s fancy clothes and many splurged on party dresses with lace detail and embellishments.

Some even went to costume hire places to look the part.

Teacher Karin Rabe said they used the outing as an opportunity to teach the girls about the great heroes of the Victorian era, for example Queen Victoria, who was a strong woman and leader in her day.

“The Victorian era is a good way to teach about the manners of the time and how important it is to appreciate where we have come from.

“The boys also look forward to dressing up smartly and some of them refuse to take off their blazers even though it gets really hot,” said Cordwalles teacher Denise Dedekind.

Wearing top hats and bow ties and sporting waistcoats, the boys were all about the strategy of the game and listened hard to the instructions while the girls were distracted, playing with each other’s beads and admiring one another’s fascinators.

To get the event going the boys and girls have an ice-breaker when they pair up and walk across the lawn holding a raw stick of spaghetti, each with one finger. The aim is not to let the stick of spaghetti fall or break and in this way the children connect with the opposite sex and learn how to communicate with each other.

Then they learn all about the game. The children break for tea where they gobble down cucumber sandwiches and delicately iced cupcakes made by somebody’s dedicated mom.

Tim Lewin, the chairperson of the croquet club, said: “People think croquet is a dying game, but it is a fun sport and we are hoping some of these kids will have a great time and take it up when they are older.”

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