Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lessons From The Snack Work

The students at Community Montessori were shown snack this week.  Snack is an independent work in our classroom.  Each day a child is scheduled to bring in a snack to share with the class.  That snack is placed at the snack work and students can choose freely during work time.  There are three spots at snack and when there is a spot available, a child can choose it.  The snack work has many steps and the steps need to be done in a sequential order to get the desired outcome, so students are learning a lot going through the process of snack.  Here are the steps:

Decide to choose snack
Look/Observe-is there an available spot? If so, proceed in choosing snack.  If not, choose another work until spot is available, or wait.
Find name on the side of the shelf where all names are listed
Place name at an available spot
Wash hands
Get napkin, open it up to a big square
Go to snack shelf and see what is offered and get snack (there is a number indicating how much snack a child can get.  For example, 1 banana, 6 grapes, 4 carrots etc).
Use utensil to get snack (tongs, spoon, scoop etc)
Place snack in bowl to transfer to eating space
Return bowl so another student can use it
Get a cup, pour water from pitcher into cup
Sit down, enjoy snack, enjoy friends at snack table
When finished, push in chair, throw away any garbage-napkin, peel from banana etc
Pour unfinished water into sink
Place dirty cup in dirty cup basket
Clean snack area-use a sponge to wipe place mat or use a small broom/dustpan to sweep any crumbs
Place name in basket on table to indicate you have had snack for the day

These steps are impressive when you think about it.  Children love order and structure and this work provides that as well as an opportunity to sit with friends and socialize.  It's fun to watch some kids make a plan to have snack together, meaning they have to wait for 2 or 3 spots to be available.  It's also fun to see new friendships blossom while eating at the snack table.  The older children give reminders to younger children if they forget a step.  It's also very fun to see a child try a new food they may not be willing to eat at home.  One little boy clearly didn't like one of the snacks this week; however, he so wanted to do snack so badly  he kept saying, "I love carrots Jamie" and the look on his face was priceless!  He didn't end up finishing his snack, but went through all the steps nonetheless!  This work represents what so many works represent in our classroom-a child's ability to practice important life skills in a child safe environment where it's ok to make mistakes and be in the process of learning.  They are also building their confidence as they try new things and are successful. . Their coordination is being built through managing their bodies/utensils/space.  They also become organized little beings when they are offered an orderly environment.