Lunch time at Cornerstone Daycare Center
Lunch time at Cornerstone Daycare Center is an exciting time for some of our Early Learn students and a not so exciting time for others, depending on the lunch served that day. Before we have lunch, children are normally coming from their indoor or outdoor play. They are led to the bathroom to wash their hands and then head to their seats. Beforehand, the tables are wiped down to ensure a clean space. Once children are settled into their seats, teachers begin to plate the food for them . Oftentimes, children are very thirsty, it is likely one would find a few children constantly asking for some water or milk if they do not get it exactly when they ask for it. When the plates are placed in front of the children, we ask them what they are having for lunch today and what they see on their plate. Many children can communicate to the teachers exactly what it is on their plate. Some other children do not always know the foods they are eating or how to ask for more. This is an opportunity for us teachers to help build language development. I look forward to these opportunities to help the children grow.
One day, the children were having macaroni and cheese, along with barbeque chicken and vegetables. One of the children, having eaten his chicken and wanting more, pointed to his plate when he got my attention. I asked him what he wanted. The child looked at me and pointed to his plate again. This time, the teacher asks, “Would you like more chicken, macaroni and cheese, or vegetables? This student, again, looked and pointed at his plate. This time, I asked him to point to what he wants on his plate. The little boy proceeded to point to the bone on his plate. I realized that he wanted more chicken. I said, “Chicken, you would like more chicken.” The child shook his head. I ask the child to repeat after me, “More chicken, please.” With a smile on his face, the child repeated, “More chicken please.”
On another occasion, we had gotten a new student. This little girl loves food and loves to eat. She also did not know how to ask for food or the names of the food she was eating. As I got to know her, I realized when she wanted more food, she would put her utensil in her mouth and look at you. Other times, she would bang her cup on her empty plate while looking at me. When I drew close to her, while she was banging, she would put her cup to her mouth again. When asked if she wants more, she shakes her head to signify, yes, she wanted more. I use this time to tell her the name of the food were eating and instructed her to say, “More…please”. This was a way to help her begin to use her words to communicate as well as learn the names of the food she was eating.
Using these moments to help the children build language skills, I find is particularly important. The children learn in the moment, doing everyday things including lunch time. During lunch time, I am always teaching children words as well as how to ask for different things. Sometimes I am teaching the same student every day. While there are children who pick up information
quickly, many times it takes a lot of repetition before a child can begin to use the information given to them. I have also learned that some children store information until they are ready, and comfortable to use it. Working with children requires a lot of patience. One of the great rewards is when the children begin to blossom over the course of their time with you.
I am thankful to be working at Cornerstone Daycare Center. As a current student pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to practice what I am learning at school in the classroom.