In our Kindergarten, we believe in education via practical experience. Therefore we try to convert any situation into an educational activity – that includes time spent in our canteen. Though it doesn't seem so, we spend one hour in the canteen everyday for morning and afternoon snacks as well as lunch.
Going to the canteen is a very cheerful activity, especially for our little ones, as they like to sing all the way down the stairs! Once they enter the dining room, they never fail to greet our cooks. There are five colorful tables just the right size for our little ones. But kids don’t sit down straight away. First they pick their snack according to what their parents have already chosen for them. Only then they sit at the tables. Carrying a plate with food is a great balance exercise for them, at least in the beginning. This way they also learn how to be independent and responsible, and also observant – sometimes it is really difficult to absorb everything that is going on around which can lean to a little accident! It is absolutely fine, though. Kids know where to find a cloth or a broom with a dust pan. They clean up any mess immediately and all by themselves.
The lunch time is a bit trickier. Helpers of the day come to do their job – they set the tables for their friends, put the plates, cutlery and cups in the right place. When kids finish their soup, they take their plates and bring them to the kitchen. Then they carry the plate with the main dish back to their tables. While listening to the teachers and taking care of themselves, they learn some very important things. First of all, they become more and more independent; as they develop their focusing and listening skills and they become more aware of things around them (you can see this especially when somebody forgets what dish to take and their friends help them immediately). Second, they enrich their vocabulary of the words connected with food and diet.
You might think that our canteen must be very noisy with all those activities going on. But we can assure you, all the kids are taught to be respectful to their friends. They try to talk quietly at the tables and if they need the teacher’s assistance, they always raise their hands to draw the teachers' attention. You see, that an event as simple as dining can be turned into a great educational experience. And that’s the way it is over here!