Montessori education is all about letting children be their own teachers, allowing them the space to explore their environment and learn on their own. Since cooking and eating is such an elemental part of our daily routine, mealtimes are a perfect opportunity to put Montessori principles into action both at school and in the home.
While there’s definitely a lot more that could be said on the subject. Here are three ways you as parents can utilize mealtimes for your child’s development and growth, and let them practice what they’re learning at their local Passaic county childcare:
- Involve Your Child With Cooking and Food Prep
Even if your child is still a toddler, it’s not too early to rope them into the cooking process. Kids often love helping out with making meals, and many Montessori schools have the kids participate in preparing for mealtime.
Even simple activities like peeling, washing salads, cutting carrots, and stirring things can create a wonderful sensory experience for a child as they touch the differently-textured foods and absorb new smells. Such activities can also help children develop their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and can stimulate their appetites by making them curious about the foods they are handling.
Moreover, getting children involved in preparing food will give them a sense of pride and importance by making them feel useful, regardless of whatever task they’re assigned.
- Add A Special Touch
Another idea is to make mealtime an event, rather than just an interruption in the kids’ playtime. Adding a few special touches to the eating experience can add a sense of ambiance, and involving your child in doing so can also be a great way to encourage them to be creative.
For instance, your child could help set a tablecloth, or pick fresh flowers from outside and assist in placing them in water. You could music during the meal, and ask for your child’s input (depending on their age). They could help out with laying out the cutlery, or folding napkins.
Also, keep in mind that you can do this for any meal; there’s no reason you can’t set out a vase of flowers while eating pizza!
- The Art Of Conversation
Family mealtimes are an opportunity to not only have great conversations but to model them as well. Knowing how to have a conversation is a skill that children learn by observing and imitating. By conversing with the other adults at the table and with your children, kids can learn to let others speak without interrupting, follow the flow of a conversation, and how to answer questions with more than just one-word answers. They can even learn seemingly simple habits, such as maintaining eye contact.
Telling your child a story about your day and then asking them to tell their own story can be a wonderful way to help your children develop their communication skills. Montessori teachers often sit down with the children during mealtimes to take advantage of these learning opportunities, and there’s no reason what your children are learning in their childcare centers in Passaic County can’t be incorporated into the home as well.
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