By Ms. Jolie, Early Childhood
When preparing for the day, my regular debate is what to make for lunch or snack. As a parent, this is my least favorite part of preparing for school. I know many parents prefer that we tell them what to bring for their snack day. It eliminates yet another decision we have to make. Young children live in the moment. They might like something now, and 5 minutes later, think they never want to eat it again. This is a great age to try new tastes, try something that might smell different, or look very different from anything they have seen before.
After working with the children this summer and learning how to respond to the ever-changing COVID regulations, I observed that although the snack situation was different than before, it was a positive experience.
Instead of a self-serve snack, each child was provided an individual snack box from the Café allowing the children to get their snack independently instead of being served. We also noticed this eliminated food waste, because we put the lid back on each child’s box and would offer it later with lunch or afternoon snack.
Lunch was a different situation. Each child brought lunch from home. Parents expressed concern the “home” lunch was coming back uneaten and wanted guidance on what to send.
Due to the curious nature of young children, they are very interested in what others are eating. When we cook together, we are all eating the same thing, which helps children focus more on eating rather than the distraction of the bright colored gummies on someone else’s plate.
During the school year, about two-thirds of the Toddler Community were having hot lunch by the time school ended. We discovered the children were eating more when the lunch was from the Harwood Café. As more children ate the same thing, the entire community stayed seated at a table longer to eat and socialize. When this occurs, it allows us to practice Grace and Courtesy, and socialization, three very important developmental skills.