Why We Eat Family Style

posted 11/21/19 -- Mealtime is a great opportunity to encourage and support child development.

Food shapes and colors are expected to be discussed, but so much more happens during breakfast, lunch and snack time in a Head Start classroom. Meal times support all the domains of learning and provide opportunities to practice and master new skills for daily living: using a cup and eating utensils, pouring their own milk, setting a table, cleaning.

These daily interactions help build social skills like cooperation and qualities like responsibility and helpfulness. Children look to teachers and their classmates for guidance, communication and role modeling expectations. Family style meal service is a great opportunity for all of these to happen.

Preschoolers will begin to learn mealtime expectations, such as table manners, timing and how to interact throughout a meal.Food is more than just nourishment. It tends to be the connection for family tradition and culture.

The Head Start program provides meals in accordance with Child and Adult Care Food Programguidelines and is the perfect time to talk about healthy habits and healthy foods.

There are so many chances for students to learn during meal service and their language and fine motor skills will develop during these interactions. Mealtime is always a great time for learning, fun, sharing and bonding.