Tuesday, April 20, 2010

what's for dinner, kids?

Dreams do come true, Reader. They do.

Because Hamish’s teacher let me into the classroom to teach the kids a nutrition lesson. And I actually went. This is kindergarten, folks. I thought I could handle it. And I did with some help. Meanwhile I remembered to pack the camera but did I remember to take pictures for the blog post? Of course not. So here is one instead of our new kitchen faucet that Bryan installed. YES.

Speaking of Bryan, I enlisted help from my trusted friend and comrade, Bryan Miller because, frankly Reader, I was afraid to go it alone. It’s been a long time since I taught and this was a volunteer effort. I wanted a safety net.

So hubby and I hatched a plan to get the kids thinking and talking about what they’re eating, to ease them into a nugget of food awareness. Our half-hour lesson lasted forty-five minutes, Only the last five or ten minutes were excruciating. Okay that’s not really true. Just when I play it back in my mind do those elongated moments become the glaring gaffe in our otherwise successful endeavor. But I ate a slice of bacon afterwards and shook it off. Because going over our time allowance is something we can definitely fix for next time. Which means that we couldn’t have goofed too badly because Teacher invited us back. Lord help us all.

First we asked the kids, Who eats food? And they all raised their hands. This was a good start. They understood, they listened, they participated and they ate. They have been trained well and I applaud Ms. H. We asked them what they ate for dinner last night. Answers varied. Grilled cheese. I can’t remember. Pancakes and Oreos. Cheeseburger and fries. Soup. (What kind? The REGULAR kind, silly.) Cake. Wonton soup. Chicken fingers. Macaroni and cheese. Carrots. Apple. Pizza. And pierogies, of course.

Each kid got a paper plate and drew their dinner. They even included their beverages. Punch. Milk. Strawberry milk. Vanilla milkshake. Water. Shirley Temple. Most of these kids enjoy dining out with Mom and Dad.

Then we congregated on the rug. Bryan and I created four food groups on the dry erase board, complete with illustrative collages which incidentally do not match the USDA's food pyramid. We divided our chow into animal products, fruits & veggies, grains and legumes.

The kids came up one by one, showed their plate, stated their dinner, and figured out which columns to write the first letter of their name. (This is where we could have implemented those time management skills.) The regular soup kid, well, at least we knew which column to put the noodles in. As for broth? Probably animal, but you never know. Were there carrots in that regular soup? No. I told you. It was REGULAR. Oh. Okay.

The most surprising thing to me was that they hadn’t heard of food groups before. Dough, for instance, be it for pasta, bread or cookies, mystified them, but they caught on and wrote their initials in the grain column. The poor legume column got nothing. NOTHING! The kids thought tofu was made from grain. Boy do they have a lot to learn.

We didn’t say a word about factory farming or fake industrialized crap that passes for food these days. But we’ve been invited back, so we’re angling to figure out a lesson that won’t find us chased through the town square by a hoard of angry parents who don't want us messing with their food groove. We’re thinking homemade cookies versus store-bought. But you never know...


kristi said...

i can't believe they haven't already been taught the food pyramid in kindergarten. that's craziness.

how awesome is this opportunity! i can't wait to hear how the next one goes. this is so great.


The Golden Papaya said...

It's so great that you're doing this. It's so easy for me to just despair about what people eat, but you're doing the better (and harder) thing which is to actually do something about it. Very inspiring. Makes me want to think about what I can do along these lines, too...

Amelia Plum said...

nice new faucet. is it from ikea? sorta reminds me of the aliens in the old war of the worlds film. go you and bryan with your food lesson. what sort of homemade cookies are you thinking about? macaroons?