Snack time: Part 1

I consider snack time part of our educational programme. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ignore for the moment that it is necessary and fun –ย 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’.ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  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.ย  (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?ย  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?)

More

A short-lived sensory box

It got eaten!

LE in heaven!

Thank goodness for toy libraries!

Kitchen Gadgets for Children

I’ve already told you about my mortar and pestle, last week we bought a new gadget, and I wanted to share. The melon baller! Of course we had to buy a melon to try it out. Yes, it will be the last one of the season.

I use kitchen gadgets with kids because they are fun, they let the boys do things they otherwise couldn’t, they help them prepare their own snacks (and sometimes eat new things), and they are great for fine motor skills. I got the idea for introducing them from the Micheal Olaf catalogue. I keep an eye out for good ones everywhere, and I’ve had a lot of luck at Ikea. The main thing to look for is that they are real tools, not just toys and that they are small enough for them to be used comfortably.

The favourites in our house are:

  • Melon baller – apparently you can use them for making butter balls too, though I haven’t tried it – yet!
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Biscuit cutters – use with sandwiches and playdough too.
  • Apple cutter – We got this at Ikea but I can’t find it online now. I’ve seen similar in Kitchen shops
  • Tongs – My children love dishing up their own salad or whatever at the dinner table.
  • Small ‘creamer’ jug – perfect for pouring practise.

I really want to get some children’s chopsticks I’ve seen. We use chopsticks sometimes, and I know the boys would like to learn. Many years ago, a Cantonese friend made a training pair for another friend by linking to tops of them with a rubber band, but I’ve never got it to work. I think these would be the next best thing. So if you see them, let me know! It just doesn’t seem worth paying more for postage than the actual thing!

Do you have any favourite kitchen gadgets your children use?

Computers+Children=?

I’ve been thinking about this lately, because my LE has been spending more time using my computer. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. He is really enjoying it, obviously learning a lot and giving me some time to do things with A. And yet, I have not always been a fan of computers for children. It just seemed to me they should be doing things. I sort of felt it was better to delay them, kinda how I feel about TV,ย  BUT I am slowly changing my mind a bit. For one thing, exposure in this house is… um… fairly high. Secondly, I can see that it is very motivating to learn things that can only be learned by rote, like phonetics, and that the LE is learning a lot while he’s on the computer. So I have decided too embrace it, at least a little bit. I think my boys will be using a computer anyway, so they should be learning how to use it properly and independently.

I have also watched LE struggle with using a tool that is obviously not designed for children. He is learning bad habits because the mouse and the keyboard are too big for him. Not very Montessori at all! So, in the same way I make sure he uses writing implements that suit his level of development, or small scissors, I am planning to set up a computer he can use. We already have most of the parts we need, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Besides, I want my computer back!

———

It was very difficult to locate a decent child sized real, not toy, keyboard. DH, the real drive behind this ๐Ÿ˜‰ , found one that also comes with a mouse. But it needs to be ordered internationally – and that means postage! I wondered if anyone else would like one too, to share postage? You can see a reasonable picture of them here, but we will probably order them from here. They will probably be about AU$20 plus postage – the cost of that will depend how many we order, but I won’t be scalping off the top ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let me know ASAP if your interested, we will confirm postage before we order it.