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Toddlers Lunches

By January 16, 2020Uncategorized

Princeton Montessori School is excited to announce that we’ve distributed a collection of recipes, featuring organic, vegetarian, locally-sourced, and nut-free meals from our popular Toddler Lunch program. The lunch program, now in its eighth year, began with the Toddler teachers cooking one meal per week for the students and has grown into a daily lunch option prepared by a dedicated chef. The recipe compilation, a gift to our Infant/Toddler parent community, features some of the most popular recipes and showcases the multicultural cuisine that reflects our diverse student body.  

“Parents would often ask us what we were making each week and where could they find the recipe,” said Princeton Montessori School Toddler teacher and cookbook author Alona Procaccini, who recently celebrated her 30th year teaching at the school. “One parent said her child would only eat the food if we made it. So we knew that, instead of continuing to hand out individual recipes, we had to put them all together!”

One of the biggest benefits of the Toddler lunch program, which is subsidized by the school, is its convenience to families. Busy parents know that, for a small cost, their toddler will have a healthy, organic, locally-sourced lunch made from scratch every day.

The program capitalizes on the fact that toddlers, who are often picky eaters, are more inclined to try new foods when they’re able to participate in the cooking process. Aligning with the Montessori belief in practical life skills and hands-on learning, the toddlers often assist the teachers with meal prep work, including cutting fruits and vegetables or shredding cheese. 

The toddlers are also exposed to new foods on a repetitive basis and within a communal setting. New meals are introduced into the lunch program and then rotated on a bi-monthly schedule via a seasonal menu that changes every three months. Eating the same meals together with friends makes it more likely that a tepid toddler will try (and like!) a wider variety of foods than they may otherwise eat.

“New foods, such as pomegranate for example, are introduced to the Toddlers at circle time,” said Vandana Monteiro, Infant and Toddler Program Coordinator at Princeton Montessori School. “It’s a sensorial experience for them. First, they see the fruit and talk about what it looks like on the outside. Then they feel it, smell it and taste it. By the time we reintroduce that same food at snack or lunch, they usually love it.”

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