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Who We Are

Hello! My name is Monica Irvine and I am the creator of The Etiquette Factory. How did all of this begin? Well, let me tell you about it. It's been a fun journey.

Years ago, I was homeschooling my son Sawyer and at the time, we were studying about the life of George Washington. During this study, we came across a document called, "George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior." From what I read, this was a list of 110 rules that President Washington had copied out of a French book after his tutor at the time had encouraged him to learn and practice chivalry skills. What we do know is that a copy of this list in President Washington's handwriting was found.

So I started reading this list of rules as I was always interested in the art of etiquette.
I was blown away by this beautiful list of chivalry rules.
For instance, I read rule #56 which reads, "Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company," and rule #25 which states, "Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremony are to be avoided yet where due, they are not to be neglected."

As I read these precious rules, something pricked my heart and I was so drawn to them. I saw the great beauty in each one and thought to myself, What if I had my son memorize these rules? Surely, that would benefit him in many ways. I could imagine that if our society truly lived by these simple 110 chivalry rules, our world would be such a more kind and more generous place to be. We began to do just that, learn these rules, but while we were learning them, a new idea flooded my mind.
What if there was a more modern version of these rules? Same principles but using circumstances from our day so that children could more easily understand them?
Sometimes, God steps in and just takes you by the hand and leads you down a path where you can use your talents and your gifts to bless his other children. I believe with all my heart that that is exactly what he has done with me.
I began my search for such a program or curriculum and to my disappointment, I could not find what I was looking for. And so, The Etiquette Factory was born and what an adventure it has been. Sometimes, God steps in and just takes you by the hand and leads you down a path where you can use your talents and your gifts to bless his other children. I believe with all my heart that that is exactly what he has done with me.
The first summer I ran manners camps for kids, I scheduled 6 weeks of camp. My purpose in reality was thinking that if I had my son be my camp helper for 6 weeks of manners camp, then surely after hearing these skills taught 6 times in a row, he would learn these skills really well. Poor kid. He had no idea about his mom's ulterior motives. Sure, I thought there would be a little interest from other parents. I knew there had to be moms and dads like me who thought they could use some help in this area. What I didn't know is how many parents would be interested in having help. Within a few weeks, I had waiting list for 5 or my 6 camps. It's then that I knew I had to do more.
I have learned that children love learning manners and social skills when taught with love and outside of the bounds of being corrected.
I have learned many things since that beginning in May of 2009. I have learned that children love learning manners and social skills when taught with love and outside of the bounds of being corrected. I realized that most of the time when parents are teaching their children manners, they are doing it while correcting, because that's when we think of it. Our child starts to do something wrong and we say, "Oh honey. Don't do/say that. It's rude." However, 99% of the time, children are not trying to be rude. They just haven't come to understand why that behavior is indeed rude. But, they want to know. They want to know the right way to do things.

Our goal at The Etiquette Factory is to help parents teach their children these life changing skills; the skills of kindness.
What is Etiquette?
Etiquette is helping those around you to feel valued and comfortable.
Every single skill we teach is based on this definition and principle. I know that when we understand the "why" behind each skill, we then can believe in the purpose of practicing the considerations of kindness. If we don't know why, then it's difficult to stay motivated to remember to practice them.
Each resource we have created, is for the sole purpose of helping children to reach their full potential. We want children to be happy, to have healthy relationships, to feel good about who they are and to have the skills they need to be their best selves. I have been blessed with amazing people who have helped me along this journey and have become an integral part of growing The Etiquette Factory. I thank God for these people.
Although The Etiquette Factory has been created for all children, preschool through high school, families with children who have special needs also have come to appreciate and love The Etiquette Factory due to our approach to learning. Struggling learners who might need a little extra help with understanding social cues and social expectations, really thrive from using all of their senses to learn. At The Etiquette Factory, we use music, games, stories, treats, crafts, and kind discussion mixed with a whole lot of love and encouragement to help children along their journey.
Here is what some of our customers have said:
Thanks to Ms. Monica, I love etiquette. I especially love singing about it!
~ Maddie, age 6
I used to think etiquette was boring, but now I've learned how fun it can be!
~ Skylar, age 9
I have to tell you that we LOVE The Etiquette Factory! My children beg to do their etiquette lessons. Best of all, I can already see such a difference in their behavior. On a more personal note, your curriculum has been so helpful in teaching my son with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism) proper social skills. It's very hard for him to learn by observing others. I love that the Etiquette Factory breaks everything down into great detail and bite-size chunks for him. So much makes sense to him now that before was confusing. He's gained so much confidence in his social skills, and that confidence has helped him more eagerly approach social situations he would have avoided in the past. You really have a great product for this market. It's another avenue for you to pursue. You have one happy customer!
~ Dede, Mom
What a true blessing for my 12 year old son to spend a week with you in the etiquette camp. It is great to hae someone else to reaffirm what we teach in our family (but you seeminly made it more fun... how do you do that?). We look forward to mroe occasions with you and etiquette.
~ Jamie, mom
Both my boys (11 and 8) attended Monica Irvine's etiquette camp this summer and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise for them. Most people snickered when they heard I signed my "boys" up for manners camp, but I was excited to see what they might learn. They came home every day saying they learned a lot, Ms. Irvine made it fun and they wanted to go back each day! I appreciated the recap sheet she sent home daily showing what they had learned and allowing us as parents to test their knowledge. Our boys even showed us a few new things and helped us brush up on our own etiquette skills. I would highly recommend any child (boy or girl) to attend her camp. You will not be disappointed - you will be pleasantly surprised by how much your kids will learn in a fun setting.
~ Karen, mom
It was fun. You get to learn a lot of new things. I made a lot of cool friends there. I had a great time!
~ Matthew, age 9
It was real cool. You learn lots of manners. You can make lots of new friends. It's fun and gets you pumped up.
~ Ben, age 6
Hi Ms. Irvine. I loved etiquette camp and I learned a lot from you. I had a lot of fun. I remember everything you taught us and I've been telling everyone about it. I've been using my manners as much as I can and I'm really glad I went to your etiquette camp.
~ Sydney, age 10
I have enjoyed using the Etiquette Intermediate book with my sons this year. I feel that this is the best manners program I have seen and I want to tell everyone about it!
~ Tina
Thank you for making the camp a fun experience for my daughters, Anna and Elizabeth. They looked forward to attending each day, and the checklist was a great way for me to discuss the things they had learned at the end of each session.
~ Jan, Mom

My Passion

Finally, please allow me to share with you one of my passions that is very near and dear to my heart. I have been sensitive to child abuse of any kind, I guess my whole life. Something in me very early, alerted my senses to any child that was being mistreated in any way. I remember as a 5th grader, I was friends with a little girl whose father taught at my school. She came in too many mornings to school, crying or having been crying because her father would paddle her with a wooden paddle before school for one thing or another. Sometimes, I could tell that it was difficult for her to sit down. One day, I had seen enough. I was mad and someone had to stick up for my friend. I had thought about calling the Department of Human Services. I knew about them because my family had kept foster children. I decided for some reason however, to take matters into my own hands. After school that day, I walked to my friends father's classroom. All the children had left and he was walking around putting papers on his student's desks. I stood in the door and said, "Mr. ___________, my name is Monica Madewell, and I am friends with your daughter _______________. I know that you paddle her a lot and I believe that what you're doing is wrong. I believe it is child abuse and if you do not stop, I am going to call the Department of Human Services and report you." I turned and walked away.
This moment was the beginning of my deep interest in fighting for those most vulnerable. Granted, perhaps I was wrong about his actions being child abuse. I really do not know. I just know that in my child's mind at the time, it felt wrong. Would you please help me today, however, in fighting for those who truly are suffering abuse, who are our most vulnerable? I implore you to choose an organization that helps children who are being abused in any way and find a way to support them. There are so many organizations that are doing much good in our My Passion world. They need our help. They cannot continue their efforts without the support of volunteers both physically and monetarily.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about who we are. I hope you and your children will benefit from participating in one of our amazing programs. I love to see children soar with confidence in their abilities. Help me give children confidence and self respect by teaching children the skills of kindness. Our world needs our children to lead the way in compassion, integrity, humility, generosity and love. It starts with teaching them the skills of kindness.
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