To your immediate left you will see our fully equipped and stocked commercial kitchen with touches of warmth from the natural hardwood cabinets. State Licensing Regulations do not permit children access to the kitchen unless it is part of a planned, supervised cooking experience. Therefore, gates have been installed to limit access. Because the kitchen is open to the classroom, adults can continue to interact with children and provide visual supervision of the classroom while engaged in food preparation. There is no mystery to what goes on in the kitchen so children are not tempted to go beyond the gates. In addition, a planned food prep experience for small groups of children regularly takes place in the classroom food prep area under the direction of an adult.
Children eat when hungry, seated at the dining table. This table permits small groups of children to engage in conversation with each other (as in a family) in a pleasant ambiance. You may notice the table is covered with a tablecloth and there is a centerpiece of flowers, candles or other display in the center of the table and the children are using "real" dishes and utensils. The use of disposable paper and plastic is limited, as we hope it is for children when eating at home.
Independence is fostered through expecting children to participate in the food preparation, table setting and clearing. Manners naturally are developed and reinforced by respectful adults who model the expected social behaviors of mealtime.