Promoting Children’s Independence at Mealtimes

Independence is a very important life skill. It allows children to achieve success on their own and develop a sense of pride in their achievements. Learning to be independent goes through many stages of perseverance and learning by trial and error. It gives children opportunity to take responsibility and make their own choices.

As their independence grows, children’s confidence grows alongside it. At nursery, we make sure children’s choices and opinions are heard and we give them lots of opportunities to be independent throughout the daily routine.

In Lower Pre-school, for example, children demonstrate how they can put their shoes and coats sometimes completely independently and sometimes with a little adult help where needed. Mealtimes are also another excellent opportunity where children learn valuable social and independent skills. Children collect their own cup and cutlery and take it to their table where they serve their own food, with some help, from the serving dishes on the table.

This has promoted many lovely opportunities for talk about children’s likes and dislikes and lots of chatter about the food we are eating together including what healthy food is and the benefits of eating healthily. In our conversations over lunch time, we also take the opportunity to talk about different meals from around the world, which are included in our nursery menu and talking about using different dishes and utensils in different cultures. Lower Pre-school had lots of fun trying to eat spaghetti with chopsticks!

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