By Ms. Jolie Guiney Fletcher, Early Childhood Guide
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 five 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 last summer and through the school year, 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 parents providing a self-serve snack, the Café provided snack to the entire class. We noticed this eliminated food waste.
Lunch was a different situation. When children 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 brightly colored gummies on someone else’s plate.
During the school year, nearly the entire Toddler Community was 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.
Read more about our Hot Lunch Program and the Harwood Cafe.