Montessori Philosophy is focused on the development of the “whole child.” At OHM, that includes learning about what our bodies and minds need, nutritionally, to be healthy and active. We are a 100% vegetarian program and are sensitive to the special dietary needs & restrictions of the children in our care. A cornerstone of our program is that the children and their families are actively involved in the preparation of our snacks and meals. On a weekly basis, our families take turns bringing in groceries to provide the staples for meals, baking projects and practical life food preparation work. Each day, the children help to cut and prepare the food they will be eating for their snacks and lunch. In our new space, our commercial kitchen will have custom built prep tables designed to accommodate our toddlers’ small stature and thus create an even more impactful culinary experience for them by allowing them to participate in the kitchen.
We believe that having nutritionally balanced foods available throughout the day gives the children the opportunity to learn and experience different foods, flavors, and textures, and encourages the child to make good and healthy food choices. The foods and meals that are prepared are nutritionally balanced to fit the child’s need for growth and variety. Our meals consist of whole grains, protein, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and a variety of spices. In this way, we make sure that the children have what their bodies need. We teach the children not only about where food comes from and the tastes of many different flavors, but also encourage them to eat raw foods and foods of different textures for gustatory exposure.
When a child shops for, grows, or helps prepare the food that they eat, they are more apt to try it. There is also a pride that comes with knowing that they brought the items for the meal and helped prepare it for their school family. The children learn care of the environment by carefully setting the table for their meal times using actual dishes, cups and cutlery as well as cleaning up after their meal. It is a time for all of us to enjoy a meal together as a family. Sometimes our mealtimes mean the opportunity to practice our “Grace and Courtesy” by going to nearby restaurants.
Our hope is that by providing these opportunities to try new foods, and fostering independence and involvement with the preparation, the children will naturally develop healthy eating habits for a lifetime.