Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday SOL What about lunch?

Tuesday Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers

We have changed the way we are approaching lunch these days and I thought I would share the delightful new routine...

Our routine before -
While the preschoolers sat down to lunch, we three teachers raced around the classroom to
help children at each table to open their foods, clean up their spills, close their lunchboxes,
close the blinds and draw the curtains, and
lay cots down throughout the room, adjusting their sheets, pillows, "lovies" as we moved.
We kept our eye on the clock, knowing that 12:30 pm was our absolute deadline for getting children to the bathroom and then lying down on their cots.

Well, about a week ago I read an opinion piece in the Washington Post entitled
"School Lunch Can Be A Teachable Moment" (by Wendy Costa).
The article resonated with me, especially her reflection about her own elementary school -

"I still remember conversations from those lunches 50 years ago. Lunch was part of the instruction and treated as part of the school’s mission, which is to 'enable all children in our care to discover and to develop what is finest in themselves — to achieve the highest standards in their studies, in their play, and in their character.' "

I thought to myself,

Why, in the preschool classroom, is lunchtime so sterile?  
So regulated? 
Why are we running around doing tasks rather than focusing on the children, chatting and being present?
What does this model to the children? Eat quickly? Hurry, hurry, hurry?

I decided we had to do things differently in the Big Cats.

Now, each of us teachers sits down at one of the Big Cats' lunch tables.
We bring our own lunches to the table,
and slowly, slowly, slowly,
we eat lunch with the children.

I am amazed at the positive changes in the classroom:

The children stay in their seats better.
There is rich conversation amongst everyone at the table.
The children are eating more of their own lunches.
I am more patient - and less hungry!

After lunch,
when we get back from the bathroom,
the children help to lay down their cots...which just makes so much sense, doesn't it?

Oh, and guess what time the children are laying down for their naps?
12:30 pm - same as always!!

Goodness, I can't believe I am figuring this out mid-April, rather than September! Ah well, here's to a new routine henceforth in my teaching.

1 comment:

  1. I taught at a preschool a long time ago while in college. There we had to sit with the kids and eat lunch with them. I remember thinking that it was a strange thing to do, but now looking back on it, I loved it. We talked, laughed and had fun. I knew the kids, and they knew me. I think this is a great idea! Enjoy! I'm sure your students are enjoying it, too.