Mealtimes are special times in Montessori preschool. An open and sharing mealtime fosters communication and promotes a sense of equality. The same is true of family meals, and the importance of sharing time together at mealtime cannot be understated or overemphasized.
Family meals create a sense of inclusion for Montessori preschool children. You can increase this sense of belonging by allowing your preschooler to use regular dishes, including glasses, dinner plates, and regular utensils. This provides a wealth of practical life experience while making the child feel like they are the same as everyone else at the table.
Bonding and Building
Family mealtimes are a great opportunity to forge a closer connection to your Montessori preschool child. They provide a chance to talk about things going on at school, your child’s interests, and to work any problems that need to be discussed. Bring family members closer and building a rapport between them has always been a natural side effect of family meals and deserves to be taken seriously.
Vocabulary and Communication
When families have meals together, children gain better communication skills. Because family meals encourage talking, the occasions help children develop larger, more expressive vocabularies. It also teaches them how to communicate effectively and provides experience in understanding the nuances and technicalities of how language works.
What the Research Says
The American Montessori Society considers family mealtimes an important part of the educational process. In one report, mealtimes provide a wide range of educational opportunity including cultural learning, practical life experiences, fine motor skills, and a vastly increased personal vocabulary. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, getting the family seated around a table and sharing time together has a lot to offer.
Even if you cannot make every meal a family event, try to arrange for family meals at least a few times each week. The more time you can put into bonding and communicating with your children, the better their communication, critical thinking, and social skills will develop.