While outside last week, we noticed herbs and a couple of vegetables that were ready to be harvested. I had made pasta salad for the preschoolers the week before using harvested veggies from the garden, but I put the pasta salad together. The preschoolers have become more interested in adding ingredients together and various foods together on their plates, so this time, we wanted to let the preschoolers decide what they wanted to add to their noodles. We began by harvesting basil, lemon balm, and chocolate mint.
Along with the harvested herbs, these were the other items available:
All of these items were available on each table, providing a smorgasbord of goodies for the Preschoolers to choose from.
Some children put a bit of everything on their plate in one pile, while others separated each item on their plate.
Some children ate the orange and lemon slices right off the peel, while others squeezed the juice on top of their pasta salad.
had the three different herbs in separate bowls so that the
preschoolers could smell them before putting any of it on their plates.
Some children tried just one leaf of one herb, while others filled their
plate (and mouths) with the bright green leaves, filling their pasta
with a fragrant, fresh, aroma.
It was a fun-filled, vibrant, tasty, and most importantly, child-led lunch. We decided what to put on the table, however, it was the preschoolers who decided what to add to their noodles, or whether they wanted to make a pasta salad on their plate at all. Giving the preschoolers the opportunity to make and create not only art, structures, buildings, but also the food that they eat, promotes independence and freedom to experiment. It also helps them develop healthy eating habits through listening to and feeling what their bodies need... Whether they are still hungry or full, whether they need more water, whether they want something sour, sweet, or salty to eat next. This is a process that we encourage each time we sit down to eat at TPH. It continues to develop as the preschoolers understand their bodies more and more, as they explore how different food tastes, and as they experiment with what different types of food feel like in their bodies.