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Tea time
Camden Elementary students, mothers share a special Mothers Day experience
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Phyllis Wainscott, owner of the Palmetto Coffee Shoppe and Tea Room, pours tea for the Black family at a Mothers Day tea. Wainscott said her love of tea pots started when she was a little girl. - photo by Miciah Bennett

Camden Elementary School of the Creative Arts students in Renee Thompson and Donna Reyes’ special needs classes treated their mothers to tea at the Palmetto Coffee Shoppe and Tea Room to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Both classes usually make a special gift for Mother’s Day, but this year they decided to do something different. Thompson and Reyes visited the Palmetto Coffee Shoppe and Tea Room, located on Broad Street, on a school work day for lunch and thought it would be a great location for a Mother’s Day treat.  Prior to the breakfast, students walked to Ellie’s Attic as an activity with their fourth-grade buddies. Pair by pair, students antiqued and found tea cups and saucers to give to their moms, which helped the special needs students learn how to make choices. Both classes made sunhats out of paper mache for their mothers and tied a scarf they got at Cosmos around the hat. Students also decorated picture frames for photos they took during the tea. Creating the hat and the frame served as a sensory activity for the students. To pay for the event, both classes sold bookmarks and asked for donations.

 “We like to get them out into the community so they can experience day-to-day things,” Thompson said. “We hit a lot of our objectives in a fun way.”

Gloadean Black said it was her first time visiting the tea room, which opened last November.  She said she would love to do the Mother’s Day tea again next year.

Phyllis Wainscott, owner of the Palmetto Coffee Shoppe and Tea Room, said she’s collected tea pots all of her life. She has tea pots from as far as Dubai, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Camden needed a tea room, Wainscott said. The shop has two, small, elevated tea rooms where fine china is served. There is an open area for tea parties and the coffee shop is in the back.

“How can we top this next year?”Reyes asked, after declaring the event a success and noting that parents really enjoyed it. Thompson said they “are always trying to jazz it up a bit” in regard to the Mother’s Day surprise.