Children learn healthy food habits and manners from an early age. At The Gardner School, we sit down as a class in our cafeteria room in a family-style setting with our teachers. All food and drinks are placed in serving pitchers, large bowls and wide platters to encourage our young students as early as three-years-old to learn how to serve themselves.
During our mealtimes, we not only practice the use of “please,” “thank you” and “no thank you,” but we also help develop children’s gross motor skills by scooping food and politely passing dishes and drinks to their peers. Benefits of this family-style seating at The Gardner School encourages a handful of skills like:
1. Courteous behavior - this will also evolve as they grow
2. Social interaction - it's important for all children to progress thier friendships
3. Exploring new foods - especially after children see their pees trying new cuisine
Here are a few family-style dinning tips that you can easily establish at home with your family:
- Let your little ones help set the table and clean up; this is a huge help to mom and dad.
- Place food in small, light-weighted containers and wide-rimmed bowls so children can pass food easier.
- Have your kids help you cook, which will encourage them to try the meals they help create.
- As a parent, expect some spills! You may want to have a few clean-up wipes close at hand just in case.