Pines Montessori students sample traditional Japanese green teaSubmitted: 02/17/2016
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Pines Montessori students sample traditional Japanese green tea
ST. GERMAIN - Shanna Stein took a bit of a gamble Wednesday afternoon.  The co-owner of The Green Rich Tea store brewed traditional Japanese green tea for grade school students, a flavor that can provide an odd experience for young taste buds.

"I don't have kids myself, so I was kind of like, 'I don't know how they're going to respond to me,'" Stein said.

But Stein's gamble seemed to pay off.  Her 30-minute traditional tea ceremony helped Northland Pines Montessori students get a firsthand—or first-taste—experience of Asian culture.

"If they're not exposed to it, they don't want to try it, and I think it's important that they try," Stein said.

Teachers invited Stein and her assistant to visit the school, which opened in September, in St. Germain. The tea helped round out the students monthly study of different continents.

"[At this school, students are] kind of expected to try new things," said teacher Karla Lorgus.  "You never know if you like something unless you try it."

Lorgus has spent more than 30 years teaching at Montessori schools in northern Wisconsin. The classrooms mix students by age (Pines' classes teach students from kindergarten through third grade) and offer non-traditional educational opportunities.

"It gives them a little introduction to their whole world," Lorgus said.  "Not just here in the Northwoods, but what is it like outside of the Northwoods?"

Lorgus admits Montessori schools aren't the perfect fit for all families.  But she believes experiences like Wednesday's can make a difference down the road.

"Just to even pique the children's interest at this age, you never know where they'll go then in the future," she said.

Stein hopes those futures include a risk or two taken and plenty of lessons learned.

"With everything that's going on in the world, I think we really need to make sure that [children] understand that the world's a lot smaller than what it seems," Stein said.

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