At Central Montessori School, children and teachers work together to prepare and serve one another, “Daily Soup”. This is not always soup per se. Sometimes is simply sliced fresh fruit and veggies, or homemade bread. But, often it is soup, of pasta, beans, rice, spices and/or seasonal vegetables. Regardless of what it is from day to day, everyday Daily Soup is wholesome, and simply good. Simply good for the body.
And, good for the mind and heart. To boot, children learn from the experience of Daily Soup. They see their curriculum come alive in practical life: they read and write recipes, they measure, they mix, they cook, they follow directions, they experiment. Language, science and math come together naturally, before their eyes, in their hands. Then, they serve one another – sharing and manners in action. And all the while, they are trying new things.
The benefits are immeasurable. Here are a few other reasons why Daily Soup is so important:
- Ingredients come from the weekly donations made by each family. The children have usually participated in choosing these items at the store or local market.
- This activity makes the food more appetizing to the child because they have contributed to how the meal is made. This encourages children to try new foods, textures, and tastes. This is a good strategy for toddlers who are picky with food.
- The food preparation of slicing, spreading, stirring, scooping all help develop fine motor skills.
- The value of food and hygiene that goes with its preparation are inherently learned when participating in the “Daily Soup” program.
Here are some FAQs for parents on Daily Soup:
What is Daily Soup? Daily Soup is part of Central Montessori School’s educational curriculum. It is a time when children and teachers come together to prepare, cook, serve and enjoy fresh-cooked foods together.
Is Daily Soup a snack or a lunch for my child? Daily Soup is neither a lunch nor snack. Parents should pack food every day, regardless of Daily Soup. Daily Soup is prepared in quantities suitable for allowing all children who wish to, to serve one another, and try a few bites of the creation made by their teachers and friends. It is not intended to serve as a meal.
What benefit does my child experience because of Central’s Daily Soup Program? Children learn the very basics of practical life in the kitchen. They are reminded of the joy of sharing, as they serve their friends, and they can practice their manners when they are served. They learn that eating healthily is both delicious and very doable with a little forethought and creativity. They feel confident, fulfilled and empowered in all these ways. They learn about food cultures, geographic locations, measurements etc.
Is Daily Soup prepared every day? It is our goal to have Daily Soup every day. Some days it may not be “soup”; for example, friends may slice fresh fruit and/or vegetables and bread to serve on another. In reality, Daily Soup cannot happen some days due to lack of food items or if class schedule and teacher duties do not allow. However, our goal is to have a Daily Soup activity every day.
Will my child cook every day? A few children cook every time Daily Soup is prepared. Teachers track children’s turns. Some children may opt out of cooking from time to time but all children are invited and encouraged to participate.
Will my child eat Daily Soup every day? Children are encouraged to try Daily Soup every time it is served.
Do all classes participate? Yes. Toddlers can sample foods and learn food vocabulary. Older children in primary and elementary classes prepare, cook, serve and enjoy fresh produce in their classrooms on a regular basis.
Have I agreed to support the Daily Soup program every week? Yes. All families agree to support our Daily Soup program when they enroll their child in Central.
How can we participate in Daily Soup? Traditionally, participation means that each child brings in one simple food item, each week, ideally on Monday morning. This can happen year-round. There’s more than one way to contribute.
1. Child Participation
Encourage your child to select one piece of fresh produce at the grocery store and bring it into school. This is the most meaningful way to support Daily Soup and it’s so simple!
2. Farm Shares (CSA) http://broadforkfarm.net/csa/
Families can contribute $25 to a Farm Share to provide their share of food for Daily Soup from May through September. With this contribution, those families do not need to bring a food item in weekly during these months. Farm Shares provide a weekly share of fresh, local, organically grown vegetables that are delivered to the school. Food Committee members will begin asking for Farm Share contributions in February or March.
3. Relay Foods http://www.relayfoods.com
Similarly and in the non-CSA season, from October through April, a family can chip in on a school account with Relay Foods. In this case, donations provided by families are deposited into an account with Relay. Then weekly, grocery items are ordered for Daily Soup as needed, debiting from that school account, and are delivered to the school. Food Committee members will begin asking for Relay Foods account contributions in September.
4. Donate money in the front office at the front desk.
You can do this once a week, once a month or once a year…
Do my Daily Soup contributions count toward my V hours? Daily Soup contributions are considered an explicit part of each family’s CMS contract and thus, do not count towards V hours for the school and community. We ask that all families contribute as a standard condition of our contract agreements.
Where do I find information about the types of foods I can send in for Daily Soup? We maintain an updated list of healthy lunch items on Central’s website (http://centralmontessori.com/healthy-food-ideas/ ) many of which would also be great for Daily Soup. Below are a few of the most used ingredients:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruit (somedays “Daily Soup” is not “soup” per se)
- Bags of dry beans
- Whole grain pasta (fun shapes encouraged)
- Vegetable oil
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper, other basic spices
How do I get our Daily Soup items into the classroom? Your child can deliver them themselves when they arrive at school. They love this ownership and participation. Just mention it to the morning greeters in the office.
I can’t remember how I contributed or when my contributions are due. If you are unsure of how you have contributed already, just send CentralEats@gmail.com an email or ask in the school office any day and we will check our records and remind you.
What happens if I don’t contribute to the Daily Soup program? Daily Soup is only possible because of parent support. If support stops for any reason, this wonderful program stops as well. We would hope that each family can realize the enormous pay off that their child, and all others, receives from the collective efforts of families to supply this program with food items. If you do your small part, the program thrives!