Enlightened Eats!

Preparing for lunch with Preschoolers

At Caring Connection, meals are one of our most recognized teaching opportunities. These are wonderful times for learning and trying new things. At Caring Connection your child will learn to pour, pass, scoop and more. They will begin learning and practicing table manners, judgment, and patience. They will acquire understanding and respect for their food. Meals and snacks are served in a casual family-style atmosphere that promotes sharing and conversation in a no-rush style.

Balanced and Inspired

539994_385085994873585_1059020494_nInspired by nature and motivated by our commitment our menus are balanced within each period of time. We balance white meats, vegetarian and vegan options. We balance dairy within each day and make sure fruits, whole grains and fresh vegetables are always offered. Fresh fruits are served as a component of each meal and most snacks. Enhanced water with mint, lemon or lime is served regularly so that children learn to be well hydrated and to love water. By expanding foods tastes, textures and combinations, we know that children adopt the opportunity to appreciate foods rather than just feed themselves without awareness. We do our best to avoid processed foods.

Meal Routines

Breakfast is offered at 8:00 and is available to any child who arrives before 8:30 AM. All children, including our AM preschool program are welcome to stay for lunch which is served at 12 noon. Parents are also invited to drop in and have lunch with their child. There is no additional charge for our meals. We offer three snacks at approximately 10am, 3pm and a light evening snack at 5pm. Children learn to serve themselves, eat with utensils and we encourage parents to adopt these practices at home for continuity.

Fresh and Balanced Ingredients

CERTIFIED IN ED-01Children eat their largest number of calories during the day while they are at preschool. Those calories are important must be healthy, tasty and interesting. Each meal: breakfast, snack or lunch is prepared right on site by our staff chef. We do not use heat-and-serve meals, nor do we buy large quantities and store them. We order from our local grocery store and twice weekly get fresh produce to provide the highest quality we can, incorporating organic products when fiscally possible. Our campuses try to maintain an herb and vegetable garden as is possible to teach children through experience the tastes and scents of foods that they will be served. When children are involved in the preparation and serving of their food it makes their participation part of the learning fun!

Food as Fuel. Meals as Learning.

Harvesting in our West Sacramento Campus Garden

It’s so important that children are introduced to food as a variety of tastes, smells, textures and cultural discoveries. Most importantly to understand their choice of foods, their awareness of their bodies and how full is full. Expanding their food choices and learning the vocabulary of new items is so exciting. The amount of learning that goes on during meals and snacks, is second to no other learning time. Children are learning social skills like passing food to another; emotional skills like empathy that others are hungry; coping skills to wait patiently until it’s their turn. Children are learning the meaning of numbers by counting their crackers or apple slices while expanding language and vocabulary. They are learning “hands-on” which fruit has a ‘peel’ and which has a ‘rind’. They will learn which have ‘pits’ or ‘seeds’. Skill building in both fine and gross motor are in our minds at these times: ‘push up your sleeves’, ‘scoot up your chair’ these are gross motor skills that are still developing. With toddlers the simple act of holding a spoon or fork and hitting their mouth is a grand achievement! With preschoolers, learning to pour their beverage and use tongs for serving are all ways they develop fine motor, perception and judgement skills.

But, one of the best things that cannot be overstated is belonging. All humans need to belong. Join the table, pass the food! We have created not a cafeteria but a family here at Caring Connection Children’s Center.