Integrating New Recipes and Practices
Integrating the ideas shared in this newsletter requires a team approach from every level of the organization. Administrators will need to plan and budget accordingly. Food service managers may need to learn new ways of preparing ingredients. Teaching staff will support implementation by engaging directly with children and families. Below are a few things to consider as you expand this area of your program.
- Administrators can dedicate a portion of staff meetings to discussions related to cooking with children and building cultural responsiveness. Teachers should be encouraged to reflect on their relationship with food, how open they are to try unfamiliar foods, and ways to encourage children to try new foods.
- Gather feedback from families. Programs can learn from families during the enrollment process, at family events or conferences, through surveys, and via informal conversations. Ask families to provide feedback on the program menus and how well they reflect the foods served at home. Make a concerted effort to integrate family suggestions into menu planning as often as possible.
- Plan or seek out professional development opportunities that will help staff understand and adopt new practices related to cooking with children, cultural responsiveness, and reflecting the unique culture of children and families in their daily practices.
- Administrators and food service managers may need to research viable sources of food items that are not readily available through current food vendors. If you are having trouble, ask families where they purchase their favorite ingredients.
- Establish mealtime routines that incorporate family-style dining. This practice encourages children and teachers to sit together, pass food around the table, serve themselves, and engage in meaningful conversations. It is during this time, that teachers can talk with children about the foods being served and encourage children to try a variety of foods.
- If food is prepared by an offsite vendor, ask for a meeting to discuss broadening the menu to reflect a more diverse population. If your program does not provide meals or snacks to children, there may still be ways to integrate cooking into the curriculum. Collaborate to brainstorm different ways to deepen cultural understanding and responsiveness that don’t include food, but do explore other areas of cultural diversity.
For the main article Connecting with Foods from Around the World, CLICK HERE
For the article Exploring a Variety of Foods, CLICK HERE
For the article Cooking with Children, CLICK HERE
For the article The Value of Honoring Diversity, CLICK HERE