Wednesday, 07 February 2018 02:22

Are you making the most of mealtimes?

This Term I have been continuing to use the involvement observation scale from the Respect, Reflect, Relate document. For this, I video a range of children in each room (2 minute videos, 6 times in one day) and then analyse their level of engagement in play experiences and routine moments. An area for improved involvement has been detected, this being mealtimes.

As a parent I know that mealtimes can often be a rushed experience where food is served to the child, mess is not desirable and sometimes dishes are getting cleaned away before everyone is finished. I also know however, that some of the best moments between myself and my three year old have been the conversations at the dinner table, cutting salad items together, going to restaurants/cafes and making fresh pasta together.

There are so many learning opportunities in a mealtime that I am prompting our educators to think about the following:
Do your children have a preferred place to sit at the lunch table or fruit/snack mat? (belonging)
What questions do you ask to promote social conversation? (language/communication/wellbeing)
How involved are children in the preparation process? (child rights/community participation)
Can the children determine how many cups/bowls/chairs/utensils are needed for each area? (numeracy/ problem solving)
Where to sit, can the children choose and set places for meals? (space and position/problem solving)
How can we offer food in a way that children can serve themselves and each other? (autonomy/fine motor/social language/confidence)

It would be great if you too at home could think about these questions and empower your own children at mealtimes. Children are competent individuals and with time and opportunity their confidence will thrive.



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