Feeding Your Preschooler: What’s a Normal Daily Menu?

We’re pulling from our archives to talk about daily menus for toddlers.

“My child isn’t eating,” is a common statement from parents of three-year-olds. At the end of a school day, parents are often surprised that the lunch they so lovingly prepared is barely touched. When teachers are asked, they often say they encouraged the child to eat but the chip simply was not hungry. So, what’s a parent to do?

One thing to consider is the amount of water the child has consumed during the day. Water is readily available in the classroom and on the playground. Children are encouraged especially on hot days to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration. This high water consumption keeps them hydrated but also decreases their appetite.

Another factor in food intake can be distraction. During the third year of life, preschoolers are very active and mobile. Often at lunchtime, they are socializing with their friends, looking around the room – seemingly focusing on everything except eating.

Their appetite also begins to fluctuate greatly. Sometimes they get stuck on one food. These “only eating chicken nuggets” moments usually don’t last long if you don’t accommodate them. We recommend that you continue to serve a wide variety of nutritious foods.

A healthy child is most important. Speak with your child’s teacher about what foods are successful with other children. Many children like items that are easy to manage: finger foods, enriched drinks, and yogurts, for example. If you are concerned about your child’s eating habits, please contact your pediatrician.

Super Kids Nutrition, a nutrition education and healthy eating website for parents and kids, offers this Sample Daily Menu for the average Three-Year-Old child. This menu provides a good understanding of basic needs – often smaller in size than parents expect, though rich in nutrients – within the framework of your particular family’s preferences and appetites.

Welcome, New Readers!

We’re so excited that you’ve taken time to visit the Montessori Academy blog! Each week, we add new posts covering a wide range of topics relevant to parents, in a format that’s easily digestible, informative, and applicable.

In order to help you get acquainted with the rich content already published, we’ve put together a brief list of key past posts on certain topics. Please look around, learn, and enjoy!

Montessori Philosophy in the Classroom

Montessori Primer: Core Philosophies

Revolutionary Learning

Montessori’s Brain-Based Approach

Montessori Primer: A Day in Our Lives – A Daily Timeline

Montessori Philosophy in the Home

Montessori Primer: Principles of a Montessori Classroom (and How They Can Be Applied at Home)

Montessori Primer: Applying Montessori Principles at Home, Part 2

Montessori Primer: Applying Montessori Principles at Home, Part 3

Montessori Primer: Applying Montessori Principles at Home, Part 4

Montessori Primer: Interacting With Your Child in a Montessori Way

Parenting and Childhood Development

Montessori Primer: Praise and Intrinsic Motivation

Montessori Primer: How to Reach Joyful Obedience

Montessori Primer: Nurturing a Lifelong Learner

101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children

Montessori Madmen

Enjoying the Moment

In this first full week back to school and back to routine, many of us may have already begun to fall into a pattern of rushing our children along to stay on time. This article, from Hands Free Mama via Huffington Post, reminds us why it is so important to remove the pressure to hurry from our behavior and our vocabulary with our children. This week, we hope you all take the time to stop and enjoy each moment.

Revolutionary Learning

In renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” he speaks about the crisis of human resources, poorly used talents, and a life that people endure versus enjoy. Across the world, educational systems are seeking reform. Sir Robinson believes that “reform in no use anymore. Because that’s simply improving a broken model.” He calls for a revolution in education.

Many elements of the revolutionary environment Robinson describes are found in a Montessori classroom, which begs the question, “Shouldn’t every school be a Montessori school?”

Summer Fun: Reading Aloud With Your Child

Summer is a great season to slow down and enjoy spending unstructured time with your child. One great shared activity for a relaxed summer day is reading together. This fantastic post on mariamontessori.com reviews the benefits specifically of reading aloud to your child, even after he has mastered reading himself.

Benefits of a Montessori Environment

How does the Montessori method provide the most optimal environment for the development of the child?

• Montessori teachers are trained to have a clear understanding of attachment, exploration, self-help skills, empowerment, pro-social skills, problem solving skills, self-esteem, and resiliency.

• The Montessori method individualizes learning through children’s interactions with the materials as they proceed at their own rates of mastery.

• Individualized instruction provides opportunities for development of many skills, such as physical coordination, perception, attention, memory, language, logical thinking, and imagination.

• The multi-aged Montessori classroom (children are with their classmates and teacher for a three year span) provides a continuity of care, fostering attachments and promoting trust.

• Children learn virtue, empathy and kindness through social and emotional guidance during group meetings and through grace and courtesy lessons.

• Montessori materials are designed to foster concentration, coordination, independence, order, and a respect for all living things.

• Children in a Montessori environment are active learners and are productively engaged throughout their work time.

• Montessori lessons are designed to make the most of the critical early years for learning linguistically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically.

Education’s Death Valley

Creativity expert Ken Robinson is a world-renowned speaker, New York Times best-selling author, and a passionate advocate for rethinking education as we know it. In this TED Talk from April 2013, Robinson addresses how to navigate out of the “death valley” of the current education model, and how to encourage an environment of possibility.

Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
– Ken Robinson

An Introduction to the Montessori Math Curriculum

Have you ever wondered how math is taught in the Montessori classroom? This video, an excerpt from a series by Montessori educational video producer edvid.com, provides a great overview of the Montessori math curriculum, moving from sensorial work in the primary classroom through concrete and abstract concepts in the elementary environment.

An Introduction to the Montessori Math Curriculum

The First of the Five Great Lessons: The Story of Creation

The Five Great Lessons are a key part of the Montessori Lower Elementary curriculum. Designed to both introduce the child to large concepts and illustrate how smaller ideas and elements are a part of the whole, the Great Lessons provide an overview of history, from the beginning of the universe to the developments, discoveries, and achievements of mankind. These exciting lessons inspire a sense of wonder in the student and encourage an understanding of the purpose of more specific areas of study as an integral part of a larger framework. The Great Lessons are presented each year to build familiarity as students progress through the Lower Elementary classroom.

The Great Lessons are not connected to a particular religious viewpoint; rather, they are designed to develop in the students an awareness and respect of the human journey, and a desire to explore and seek truth in the world around them. Tying in with our character education, the Great Lessons teach diversity of life on earth, basic needs, and the interconnectedness of all living things.

The first of the Five Great Lessons, the Story of Creation, tells the story of the origins of the universe. Below is a video illustrating the Story of Creation as it shared in the Lower Elementary classroom.

What Is Cosmic Education?

You may hear the term “Cosmic Education” when discussing the Elementary curriculum at MAV. But what is Cosmic Education, and how is it valuable to the child’s experience?

Cosmic Education is an educational approach founded by the Italian physician-educator Maria Montessori in the first half of the 20th century and developed in detail by her son, Mario Montessori, after her death in 1952. It is rooted in the principle that a knowledge of the universal whole allows us to understand the value and purpose of its parts, and how their individual stories form a larger narrative.

In the last 50 years many scientific discoveries regarding the universe have been uncovered. Maria Montessori was a visionary with great insight. Even in her time, she could foresee the potential unfolding of scientific knowledge and its impact to future generations. In her 1942 work, To Educate the Human Potential, Montessori stated:

“Let us give the child a vision of the whole universe… If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder… The knowledge he then acquires is then organized and systematic; his intelligence becomes whole and complete because of the vision of the whole that has been presented to him… No matter what we touch, an atom, or a cell, we cannot explain it without knowledge of the wide universe.”

The result of this educational approach, at both the elementary and the university levels, is a curriculum that unifies all the subjects of human knowledge into one, coherent, continuous, and comprehensive study.

Historian David Christian continues this approach in his course work today, explaining:

“Big history surveys the past at all possible scales, from conventional history, to the much larger scales of biology and geology, to the universal scales of cosmology. It weaves a single story, stretching from the origins of the Universe to the present day and beyond, using accounts of the past developed within scholarly disciplines that are usually studied quite separately.”

The importance of the Cosmic Education approach is beautifully demonstrated in Christian’s The History of the World in 18 Minutes, the introduction to his Big History university course, seen here as presented at the TED conference in March 2011.