Chapter 3 – Developing a beneficial framework in the kindergarten
At the time that children reach the schooling age, their eating habits, taste preferences, values and ideas of food and nutrition are quite firmly set. Kindergarten staff is responsible for establishing supportive conditions and framework for a healthy, sustainable food culture and good atmosphere in kindergartens. They also have to decide or co-determine, what will be served – regarding to a healthy, well-balanced and sustainable food choice. Within this framework, children can develop beneficial eating habits and appetite, without pressure.
Factors that influence the eating atmosphere are especially:
- room and table design (e.g. friendly, colorful furniture and dishes, nice decoration of room and table, bright and adequately light, easy to clean, table big enough for everyone, low noise level…)
- seating arrangements (e.g. table fellowship)
- rituals and timetable (fixed dining times or dining periods with enough time to enjoy food, rituals for the beginning of meals like toast at the beginning, round table discussions…)
- participation (e.g. setting the table, the design of the table decoration or the taking of the table service.)
- the food quality (more in Modul 2)
- possibility of independent replenishment of food (assessment of one's own feeling of hunger, to strengthen self-competence)
- accompaniment of the meals by loving kindergarten staff/kitchen staff (staff eats together with children, staff don´t assign unreflected their own preferences and dislikes to children)
Other learning tools:
Marianne Maier: Beim Essen Achtsamkeit lernen und Körper und Seele in Einklang bringen. In: TPS Ausgabe 1 2008, S. 23–25.