Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Family-style Lunches

Learning experiences take time; let your students enjoy the process.

In most preschools the lunch structure is designed so that the students are experiencing family-style lunches. It is a style of lunch where the students are serving themselves and the teachers are required to seat with their students and eat.

When you ask some teachers what family-style lunch consists of, they would say that the students should serve themselves. But it is more to it than that.

A family-style lunch should consist of a lot of different facets; students should be involved in setting the table, pouring their own milk, and serving themselves.
I have also allowed my students to put the serving bowls of cold items on the table, but I leave the main dish for last. 

If you allow your students to set the table, this gives you the opportunity to explain to them the healthy way to hold silverware, cups and plates. It might seem faster if you do it yourself, but if you allow them to do it, it takes some of the work and stress off of you. Giving you time to seat with them and eat.

After all the items are set on the table, the students are usually instructed to serve themselves. I usually start with the main dish, handing it to the student that has sat at the front of the table.  I also instruct the students on how much to take, and which way to pass the bowls.

After everyone is served, the students can begin eating. The only thing that I do differently is that I allow students to begin eating a little while others are serving themselves. I know a lot of teachers disagree with this, because they want all the students to eat together, but I can’t imagine torturing the students like that. I understand that they are starving by the time lunch comes around. 

Now that we have covered the preparation and serving procedures for family-style lunches, let’s talk about why it’s done. Family-style lunches allow students to experience what most students don’t experience at home.  The opportunity to seat with family and friends and enjoy a meal, communicate, understand eating portions, and acceptable table manners. It also teaches them to be responsible; they learn to clean up after themselves

It is important for teaches to sit with their students while they eat to encourage them to try new foods and as a model to what is acceptable behavior at the table

A family-style lunch does not consist of you doing everything and then allowing the students to serve only a portion of the lunch. It should be a learning experience for the students. And new learning experiences take time; let your students enjoy the process.

Whatever you decide to do to give your students a good family-style lunch experience, be consistent. If they know what is expected of them they will learn to do it without assistance from you. 

Darla :)

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