Food Lessons are an important part of the Montessori environment and fall under the Practical Life skills. Children start with simple lessons for preparing nutritious snacks like shelling nuts, cutting a banana or spreading butter on bread. Later and more complex lessons may include making lemonade, tea, or a sandwich (and many more). The lessons provide more than just a nutritious snack. In these food lessons, children learn and practice using kitchen tools, following a specific sequence, developing independence, coordination, hand muscle development, and completing the work cycle by cleaning up after.
I decided it was time to set up some food lessons for my daughter (almost 3 1/2 now). I found this little cupboard at Michael's. I really like the little lock, which the younger sister has not figured out how to open yet.
Inside, I have put together two food lessons. The top is Juicing An Orange and below is Grating Cheese. The tray on top is used to carry and contain all the materials needed.
This is how the tray looked just before starting. The half orange is kept in the mini-fridge (children's fridge) in our kitchen very close to the cupboard. The bowl holds the orange remains after juicing.
Here is my daughter Grating Cheese. The cheese is also kept in the mini-fridge.
Ideally, after the lesson the child washes the dishes, wipes the tray and returns everything to the shelf. I am still working on this part because our sink is not at her level. Right now, the tray and table can be wiped clean and everything returned to it's place, but the dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher.
These are our clean-up buckets. Red is for the table and blue is for the floor. I would love to hear what food lessons work well for other readers!!