Books can teach to our kids how to recognize healthy food and appreciate conviviality. Here Nini’s reading tip.
Like many well respected Italian families, one of our favourite topics of conversation is food. Similarly, many of the books we have read, reread and over read over the years with young children are stories about food and education.
Recognize healty food
A very topical issue when it comes to children is, unfortunately, childhood obesity, which is fought mainly with proper nutrition education.
As the nutritionist Federica Pasitisays, to eat fruits and vegetable, you especially must know them. Federica works with us in our workshops for children in Rome, in particular she manage the snack during the workshops. Would you ever eat something you don’t know, whose texture and taste are not familiar to you?
For this reason Federica uses with her little patientsMontessori Nomenclature Cards about healthy Foods. This method can also help to avoid the tantrums during the meal.
Nini likes rhymes stories, like “Al supermercato degli animali”. This rhyme story, that in 2008 won the Anderson Medal for 0 to 6 years old, is suitable also for very young children. The story illustrates the importance of eating well and describes the different diets between one animal and the other. Significant is the section that describes how the “frozen food department closed because it was not popular and that in it’s place now there is a field”.
The pleasure of conviviality
Often people complain about children in restaurants that can’t be quiet, and families use tablets and cell phones to keep them quiet and make them eat without whims or rejection.
Kids become boried fast and they can’t spend too much time seated. However, learning to enjoy lunch or dinner out also means spending time with family and people we love. For this reason one of our best book is “The Stone Soup” by Anais Vaugelade.
The title itself describes something that is far from the ordinary schemes: a toothless wolf asks to be hosted by a hen on a cold winter evening and would like to cook a stone soup. This will become the excuse for an entertaining dinner between neighbours in which each animal adds an ingredient to the soup. The metaphor is strong and appropriate: each animal adds a new ingredient to the soup in the same way as every personality provides something interesting and unique to a group of friends.
So all the animals rediscover the pleasure of conviviality and staying together, telling stories and spending a pleasant evening in front of the fireplace. Just as we could do with our children both at home, and at the restaurant, occupying the waiting time between one course and the other.
Children at the table. Practical life at home
In addition to the topics healthy food and conviviality, the Nini readings concern participation in the preparation of the meal! A time to learns the sharing of tasks and responsibility. The fourth text that we suggest a shaped hardback in rhymes about Nadja’s “five little fingers”.
The story illustrates the preparation of lunch and the involvement of each finger in a separate task. This becomes the perfect excuse to learn the names of the fingers and to experience working together towards a common result.
This book also helps us at home with the activities of “practical life”, which are a fundamental mainstay of the Montessori approach. Join the houseworks, each with their own possibilities, helps to develop autonomy, and to feel useful and grown up!
Set the table teaches children a lot of things: to count the right number of cutlery and dishes,to place objects in order, first the tablecloth, then the dish, finally the napkin…, to be carefulwith fragile objects and to not to forget anything.
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