How toddlers and preschoolers can discover new concepts by helping in the kitchen?
From a young age, Waldorf schools try to inculcate a reverence and joy for the daily activities of life which include cooking. A simple act of slicing an apple together or shelling peas goes a long way in raising strong, respectful and independent children.
At InBloom, meal times are a celebration. Teachers honor the importance of mealtime every day not only for the sake of the children, but for their own. It is during this time that teachers are fully able to wrap their nurturing energy around every child at once. It is this essence that makes mealtime so very special and a true celebration of everything we are and everything we do, each and every day.
We don’t just offer healthy foods, we involve children and parents alike in the planning and preparation of food. We understand that healthy eating is not just for school but for our homes as well.
We follow a weekly food plan where parents help send us lunch for the entire class based on the tenets of Navdanya so we can introduce a diversity of grains to a child’s growing appetite.
The advantages of including children in the process of preparing food, from field to table are long lasting. We bring our education alive with food and mealtimes, and you can too.
"I was surprised to hear that kids were given peelers and knives to use in school.I am proud to see my 5 year old grandson cut perfect slices of an apple and work carefully”, relates Latha, grandma of child at InBloom.
Here’s how we inculcate the joy in food amongst young children, around mealtimes:
We have child-friendly customized countertops allowing easy access to observe and participate in the preparation that takes place before mealtimes.
We encourage children to participate, with age-appropriate tasks. While older children can chop carrots, the younger ones can shell peas, all to be added to our soup.
Make things from scratch. We grind our own idli batter. There are no preservatives or artificial colours or hidden sugar and what’s more, children love the story of the idlis coming together from farm to table.
Supervise, guide and enjoy the sequences of cooking with children. Doing things in a sequence helps children see and understand how we knead the dough together, then make smaller balls and finally roll out the chapatis. After this the teacher can fry them over the tava.
Gently guide children with hand-held devices such as peelers, graters, sieves, grinding stones, mortar & pestle, and so on.
As children help, they learn a lot along the way; they add new words to their vocabulary, get ideas for play, understand seasonal foods and even develop their motor skills as they help in chopping, grinding, peeling and bustling around the kitchen.
Apart from the obvious benefits, when children complete real work, there is a powerful sense of accomplishment that helps build a child's sense of self.