Healthy nutrition at the Preschool
It can be so simple: Meals are an opportunity for education and learning!
Healthy nutrition is part of a healthy education and should thus be understood as an elementary part of life in Preschool. Nutrition education takes place in all conceivable everyday situations: at breakfast, during conversations at the table, while eating lunch together, and when snacking.
Preschool is a place where children - as they do at home with their families - eat and drink. Therefore, meals in Preschool are very important: Children can learn and develop healthy eating and drinking habits from one another.
In the process, the children get to know different foods and they expand their vocabulary. They learn about the workflow and organization required to prepare food. They learn how to use kitchen tools and they practice their fine and gross motor skills. We talk about the consistency of foods, the importance of washing your hands and general hygiene, and we discuss activities and behaviors. The children experience being part of a community and they get to know foods from different countries.
It gives the children pleasure to learn about quantities and numbers, to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Solid and liquid foods give us opportunities to depict these basic mathematical principles. And this is even better if you get to eat something in the process!
The children learn what’s good for their bodies. What tastes good to me? What do I need to eat so that I feel good? How hungry or thirsty am I ?
For us in the Preschool, meals are much more than just food intake. They are a cultural and social event that we experience with all of our senses.
In a larger group, small table groups can make meals a personal “thing” among friends and the children also meet other children they don’t know as well yet. On the one hand, this fosters contact and conversation with other people as well as the expansion of linguistic capabilities.
When setting the table, the children in each group take turns. They set the tables for our lunch. They get the right number of plates, help with the silverware, and distribute glasses. Here the children learn: Who's doing which tasks? What can I already do? What have I already done before? What are my strengths? The children get involved on behalf of the group.
If the children are thirsty, they get water or milk from the pitchers. We make sure that everything is easy for the children to reach.
It is important that children not only learn to walk and talk, but that they also need opportunities to consciously smell, see, taste, hear, and feel. Through daily exercise during meals, we strengthen these skills.
Repeating rituals give the children the feeling of safety and security. In this spirit, here are the texts of some songs that we sing together before lunch!
1. Rolle, rolle, rolle
mein Teller der ist volle,
mein Magen der ist leer,
Mittagessen ist nicht schwer.
(Roll, roll, roll
My plate is very full
My stomach is empty
Lunch is easy!
2. Piep, piep, piep,
wir haben uns alle lieb.
Jeder isst, soviel er kann,
nur nicht seinen Nebenmann.
Und wir nehmen es ganz genau,
auch nicht seine Nebenfrau.
(Peep, peep, peep
We are all fond of each other
Everyone eats as much as he can
Just not the boy next to him
And we want to say this precisely
Not the girl next to him either
3. Miteinander essen,
das kann schön sein,
froh zu Tische sitzen lieben wir.
Darum lasst uns teilen
und auch noch verweilen,
schön, dass wir zusammen sind,
schön, dass wir zusammen sind.
Can be really nice
We love sitting happily at table together
Therefore let us share
And stay a while
It’s nice that we’re together
It’s nice that we’re together)