Cafeteria 101

I teach 2 sessions of ½ day Kindergarten every day and these children do not eat lunch at school.  This past Friday, all of our Kindergartners had a chance to ‘try out’ the cafeteria, buy lunch and then eat it in the allotted time…just like a first grader.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!  Starting with choosing white or chocolate milk to choosing 2 sides to go with the pizza, the walk through the cafeteria line took much longer than it should have.  Then, once the children got to their assigned tables, the fun really began.  Most of the children did not know how to open a small carton of milk, what to do with straw with paper on it, open their ice cream, or eat without managing to get some of it on the floor. Yikes!  It seems to be that some practice for these soon to be first graders who will be eating lunch at school in the fall is in order.  Parents, try offering your child choices with your meals at home.  I don’t mean a choice of the main course, but maybe a choice of a drink, or choice of a vegetable, or even a choice of a dessert.  There won’t be enough adults in the cafeteria to help all of these first graders if they don’t do some practicing at home to get ready.  The other part of eating in the cafeteria is time management.  Many schools schedule 30 minutes per class to enter the cafeteria, go through the line, eat, clean up and get in line to wait for your teacher, so time management skills are of the utmost importance.  Many children on Friday wanted to start their lunch with their ice cream…they’re children so that seemed like a good idea to them.  However, ice cream alone would not give them the protein or energy needed to get through an afternoon of math, social studies and science.  Teach your child to eat the main course first and then attack that dessert..if there is time.  I don’t want your child to get an ulcer worrying about eating in the school cafeteria, but try showing a clock to your own child before a meal and teaching them about using time properly while eating and visiting in the school cafeteria.  It will be a smooth transition for your child eating lunch in the school cafeteria if some time is spent between now and September going over Cafeteria 101 with your child.



Filed under Food, Kindergarten, Parents

8 responses to “Cafeteria 101

  1. thanks for the tips. Our school does full day kindergarten so my son has had a full year of eating in the school cafteria. I think his biggest issue is just eating in general he really wants to go out for recess so he usually starving by the time he gets out of school. As they eat lunch at 11 and school lets out at 3 with no snacks offered in the afternoon. If they gave a snack i think these kindergartners would have less diffculty in the afternoons but that just me.

    • kindergartenteacherclaire

      It is unfortunate that his school does not allow the children to have a snack in the afternoon. I bet the teacher manages to squeeze in a snack to keep her/him going!

  2. mary

    Hi , I taught 6 grade, and we allowed our 12 year olds a snack time around l0 am since we didnt have lunch until 12:30. so the same would be helpful for K students . Going that long without a snack and then the bus ride home is long for some kids.
    I cant imagine first graders getting in/out in 30 minutes. Great suggestions about trying to practice some of the cafteria skills over the summer

  3. no idea if the principal been questioned or not. But kindergarten is nothing like it used to be. School almost done thankfully for the summer and then it a whole new scence with first grade on the horizon.

  4. hema

    hi. this is an unrelated qs, but one that has been plaguing me lately. my daughter is in kindergarten, and we have recently shifted cities. the problem is that while my daughter’s previous school was teaching them writing small letters in cursive, her present school is teaching her to write small letters in print. just wanted to confirm which is better – will she not have a prob to relearn how to write cursive(which eventually is what they write in )??? anxiously seeking an answer

  5. kindergartenteacherclaire

    Hello Hema
    I have never heard of a school that taught cursive in Kindergarten. Usually Kindergarten teaches the children how to print both upper and lower case letters with a strong emphasis on the small lower case letters when writing as those are the letters that we see in print in books. I don’t know where you are writing from but in the USA there is usually a smooth transition from ‘printing’ letters to writing letters using cursive. Do not worry, all will be fine!

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