Snack time: Part 1

I consider snack time part of our educational programme. 😉 Ignore for the moment that it is necessary and fun – when these things happen in the classroom it goes on the teacher’s plan, why couldn’t it be part of yours? ‘Food Curriculum’ is an easy way to incorporate other learning. Here are some ideas for two Key Learning Areas. Food is such an important part of human culture that there is little it doesn’t touch, and you will easily think of more to add. (When you do, let me know!)

Health and Physical Education

Yes, healthy eating, but what about interpersonal skills? Mealtimes and snacks provide a fantastic opportunity for modeling manners and etiquette.

Montessori theory talks about Grace and Courtesy lessons, and teaches them explicitly but not at point of need. We do this usually by talking about manners, but not when a child fails to use manners, but beforehand. Then we model, model, model. I am aiming for my children to use manners not to get treats, but because they want to. To me, manners aren’t about codes or ‘magic words’.  Manners are just about conventional ways of showing another person we respect them as a human being.

But that’s probably a whole different post, so moving on. 🙂

The Social Sciences (aka Society and Environment or Social Studies)

The Little City Kids curriculum has some really interesting ways to incorporate snack time into learning about a particular topic – albeit heavy on the sugar sometimes.  Our jelly layers were a fun way to demonstrate stratigraphy in the ground.

Dino Layer Jelly

One of my favourite lessons I did as a teacher involved making an edible (ice cream) model of a comet, and as a Guide Leader I have made working edible aquifers.  (Which reminds me, I haven’t done either of those with my children yet…)

Food is invaluable in the study of culture. As a basic human need all societies must find a way to meet that need, so food provides a great bridge between cultures and a wonderful way to demonstrate diversity and similarity. This is an important concept in Montessori, which prides itself on being education for peace.

Cultural cuisine is a fairly obvious inclusion here, but it is fun! What about ancient foods?  Did you know the Minoans grew poppies? What a great excuse for orange and poppy-seed cake!

The use of culturally appropriate eating tools, like chopsticks, or the use of bread as scoops, is good (messy) fun, and again provides a bridge between cultures, embracing similarities and differences. (Did you know, for example, that the chopsticks used in Japan are a little different from those used in China?)


It’s easy to forget how much learning takes place in the everyday ordinary interactions we undertake. It’s easy for home educators to think they have ‘done nothing’ and forget that routine ordinary interactions are an important part of our ‘life curriculum’. It’s also easy to forget how hard a teacher at school has to work to get these ordinary moments, these everyday interactions to take place with 30 children. This is one of the inbuilt advantages of learning as a way of life!

I’m hungry. 😉


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. unboundedocean
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 03:02:11

    We’re making sushi tonight as part of July’s ‘Japan’ theme! I didn’t know that Japanese chopsticks were different – will have to google that now! Different eating implements also covers part of the K – Grade 1 curriculum in Design and Technology! Hoorah!


    • belindaandboys
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 04:39:45

      I love Japanese food – we just had homemade sushi for lunch today.

      You can read about the difference between Japanese and Chinese chopsticks here. Most of the cheap chopsticks I have seen for sale in Australia are the Chinese style, but I find the Japanese style easier to use, especially for beginners, so its worth looking for them. In Japan, each family member has his or her own chopsticks, decorated differently. Guests are given disposables!


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