Early childhood is an incredibly important time for children to develop self-help skills.
As such, Kinderland revamped its school cafeterias around the island to include a serving counter where food is displayed buffet-style, explains Kua JoAnn, the school’s assistant manager for nutrition, health and hygiene.
The big idea? Let children – as young as age 3 – to independently self-serve and feed themselves, inspired by Japanese preschools the Kinderland team toured several years back.
“We serve healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks at tea time daily. For instance, a lunch-time meal can comprise brown rice, steamed chicken, vegetable soup and fresh, cut fruits,” says JoAnn. Additionally, the menu changes daily, is suitable for all races and religions and can be adjusted to accommodate children who may have allergies or food restrictions.
Two children are assigned as helpers for the day, and their roles include setting up the dining area for their peers. Children are also encouraged to clean their tables and return their trays to a tray-collection station by themselves after finishing. Children younger than 4 years are not excluded, says JoAnn, as “teachers assist to portion out dishes and serve to children.” They are guided and taught to self-feed, too.
The self-help system enables children to build their identity and confidence to meet his or her needs, explains JoAnn, adding that Kinderland “provides guided opportunities for children to take responsibility of their food and learn to select healthy portions.”
“When children practice these self-help skills, they also develop their gross and motor skills such as holding utensils and spooning food from a serving dish,” says JoAnn. Furthermore, this method helps children learn social skills, manners at the table and cooperation. “We encourage children by giving positive feedback and show appreciation for individual effort,” she says.
Kua JoAnn, Assistant Manager (Nutrition, Health and Hygiene), explains why healthy eating from an early age is a must.
Why Good Nutrition Matters
“Good nutrition is the essence to building a good, quality life.”
How Parents Can Teach Children Good Eating Habits
“To inculcate good eating habits for good nutrition, we should be more hands-on with children. For example, parents can involve their children when preparing healthy meals for the family. ”
Why She Loves Her Job
“I feel a sense of achievement and self-satisfaction when I bring my passion into my daily work routine.”
Kinderland Preschool & Infant
Tel: 6881 8818
From The Finder (Issue 294) , August 2018
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