At Kiddy Junction, we focus a lot on respecting the children. Many educators would agree with a statement like that – who is going to say “children don’t deserve respect”?
Still, there are ways to respect the children that are not always obvious. One area where we feel our level of respect for the children shows through is in the Dining Area.
The Dining Area is a separate area removed from the main classroom. In this way, children don’t play and eat on the same tables as they sometimes do in other centres. This simple but powerful idea of working and eating at different tables or areas, often performed subconsciously by adults, helps to transition mentally from a time of stimulated learning to a time of civilized social interaction around one of the oldest human traditions; sharing a meal with others.
Tables are set with high quality table clothes, real metal utensils are set out with wooden bowls and glass dishware. If the children aren’t careful, these genuine materials could break. Offering the children that opportunity to have responsibility and to in turn respect the tools they’ve been given is a big step towards developing a healthy respect for the children, and towards recognizing them as capable beings.
Children talk, laugh, and socialize while they eat. They use good manners rather than yelling when they need something by putting their hand up and asking politley. Sometimes, when it’s been a high energy morning, we may have a candle-lit lunch to help everyone find a better sense of inner calm before we retire to the nap room after lunch.
To build an environment that is truly for the children takes much dedication and even more awareness, both of the children’s capabilities and of our own preconceptions. At Kiddy Junction, we challenge ourselves to stretch these limits and find new ways to respect the children every day. I hope this article inspires you to look for new ways to respect your child at home!