Lunch, Snacks, Food and Celebrations

Day to Day Routines

Food and eating habits differ according to cultures. Mealtimes are a very important part of our cultural identity; these traditions form a large part of who we are and should be respected accordingly. The food within the kindergarten will usually represent the ethos and dietary needs and regulations of the country they are in. Understanding the changes in food culture may be difficult for both you and your child.  It is important that you are clear about your child’s dietary requirements before you start at the kindergarten so they can offer a suitable alternative.

It is normal to be concerned about the amount your child is eating. If the kindergarten allows it then you may be able to bring food from home, or a supplement if it seems necessary. It is important that you talk to your child about the mealtimes and what they have eaten. Use pictures of food if necessary to reinforce your home language. This can be a fun activity at home, maybe to cut out and stick the pictures on a card could extend this activity.

• Discuss how your child is eating in the kindergarten with their educators
• Your kindergarten should provide a menu with the snacks and meals for the week. Discuss these in your home language so your child is prepared for the meals as it may look very different to the meals you enjoy at home
• Ensure that the kindergarten has a list of any allergies or foods that your child does not eat for cultural reasons
• Enjoy some of the same meals at home on occasion or use the same ingredients in your own style of cooking
• Suggest an international food event where families can bring a dish from their own culture
• If there is a special cultural celebration, ask if you can participate through cooking a dish with the children or requesting the kindergarten provide a special snack

Routines are vitally important to the health and well-being of your child. They provide consistency, stability, and predictability all of which will encourage your child’s development and health. Cooperation between families and educators at the kindergarten is very important to assess the different needs of the children as they progress through their time at kindergarten. Their needs will change and develop and mature making this an exciting journey for everyone involved.

The language development possibilities around routines are immense and will provide a base for multilingual language development. Routines are repetitive in both language and experience and words like toilet, cracker, water and milk will become the building blocks for greater language acquisition. It is important to understand the cultural differences you may face at the kindergarten and be open to adjusting your own expectations and preconceptions. Your child will benefit from this stability encouraging them to feel secure and to investigate this new environment with joy and confidence.