The school where I will be teaching this fall has the children take turns bringing a snack for the whole class each day. It is VERY VERY important to me, as a teacher AND parent, that those snacks be healthy. To be honest, when my oldest son was in Montessori preschool a few years ago, I was a little unhappy with all the sugary, sweet snacks he had. So it's important to me to try to control the healthfulness of the snacks brought into the classroom as much as possible. Additionally, a key part of Montessori education to teach care of self. And what better way to teach care of self than to teach children to make healthy eating choices. Eating habits can have a life-long impact on a person's health. Anyway........you get the point I'm trying to make.
In this post, I am excited to share with you something that I plan to use each day in the classroom to help reinforce healthy eating. It is called a fudoo board and it was designed specifically to help children learn healthy habits.
The board is made of metal so magnets will stick to it. The front is divided into different color areas which represent the food groups. On each colored section are numbered circles for the number of servings you should eat from that group each day.
The back of the board has a blank space in the middle where you can write (using the dry erase marker included) activities to do. Then you can check them off according to what type of activity they are: a MOVE activity or a THINK activity. This really encourages the healthy habits of exercise and reading/creating/making music, etc.
The board comes with all these little magnets which are color-coded by food group and have pictures of the foods. There are also magnets for water (see upper right) and blank ones to add foods within each group.
Here is a close-up of the food magnets. There are two gray magnets to allow for "sometimes foods" (i.e. foods that don't fit into a food group).
So my plan is to show this at my parent orientation night. I will explain to the parents that when it is their child's turn to bring the snack, the child will place the magnets for their food items on the fudoo board and we will discuss what that food does for our bodies (i.e. gives us energy, builds strong bones, etc.). Obviously, we will want the child's snack to be "colorful", and not "gray." This should really reduce the cupcakes, rice krispie treats, cookies, etc. that are brought for snack time. And hopefully, it should make it easier for parents to choose what snacks to bring. I think I will type up a list to give parents of the different foods in each of the color groups. Then they can quickly pick something from one or two colors to bring. We will also just serve water with snack, which will allow us to also place a magnet on the board for water. I think encouraging kids to drink water is also a very important life-long habit to instill.
So............click over to Fudoo Boards and check it out. They are very well-made; I think they would last forever. I am probably going to get one to use at home too. I think my boys would really enjoy "eating their colors" and putting them on the board every day.