Eating Together

“Children love to cook, and even those as young as three or four are drawn to the kitchen with a tremendous sense of curiosity and respect… Pride of accomplishment is key. ‘I like it because I made it myself,’ is the refrain I hear most often from proud little chefs, who are beyond pleased to be invited into this adult realm.” — Mollie Katzen, Author of “The Moosewood Cookbook”

We serve a family-style, vegetarian snack each day, consisting of a protein, grains, and fresh fruits or vegetables. We are happy to accommodate special diets and actively share recipes and ideas for gluten-free and vegan snacks.

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Snack is an integral part of our curriculum and children are often involved with snack preparation. Children’s involvement deepens their appreciation of food and their relationship to the natural world in which the food grew.

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“When I was in the garden at HFP with a group of children, we were exploring and talking about the different plants we found, and one of the children proclaimed ‘it’s like magic’ as we talked about a squash flower becoming a pumpkin…and it is.  The magic continues when we bring children into the kitchen to bake that pumpkin, roast the seeds and prepare tasty muffins together…this is the good stuff!”- Karen McCleary Munoz, HFP Alumni Parent

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While cooking, children learn social competency, math, science, literacy, nutrition, nature appreciation and the joy of creativity. Children create tasty, wholesome snack projects. When children take part in preparing snack, their investment deepens and their anticipation grows. As children handle fresh fruits and vegetables, whether they peel the textured skin from a mandarin orange with their hands or use a potato peeler to strip the browner skin from a carrot, they are learning about the earth and her bounty. And when children engage in more involved food preparations, their learning deepens. As children make snacks, they observe the ingredients, grow curious and delight in both the process and the end result: a meal we get to enjoy sitting together, family style.

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Involving children in their food preparation, cooking and assembling initiates a thoughtful connection to healthy eating, community togetherness, seasonal awareness and meaningful use of precious natural materials.  Less food goes to waste when the children have had the honor of preparing a meal together.  Seeing first hand, whether stirring, adding ingredients, smelling, sampling, or even learning kitchen safety, the children gain a personal understanding of what goes into the process of making their food.

This level of personalized education initiates and builds a love of learning.  Enjoying and seeing the pleasure on their peers faces as they enjoy their freshly prepared food creates a positive, caring, aware and proud community.  It has been an honor to be able to bring seasonal ingredients to school for the children to take part in creating this festive community sharing.

— Iris Nason, M.Ed. and HFP Parent

 

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