Questions for VPK teachers (Florida)
Is family style dining mandatory?
How long do you get for lunch?
I just started teaching VPK, the last few days just observing. I got to see lunch time and I'm not sure how I feel about this -- each class gets 20 minutes in a lunch room where kids (the ages of the children who use the lunch room are 3 to 5) sit at adult sized tables in adult sized chairs. The VPK students line up and receive a small bowl (like going to a restaurant and you get a side in it) with the "first course". Then after they finish whats in the bowl they receive the next "course" (pasta or meat). They can ask for more but they walk up to the teacher to get it (which today I saw a lot of kids getting up with food in their mouths - oh yay!). The teacher dishes out all food and pours all the milk.
The teacher has NO time to sit down with her students as after the kids are served, she has to clean up (sweeping floors, wiping down tables and chairs) - I basically saw a kid who wasn't done yet get his chair taken out from behind him and he had to finish his lunch standing. Also I didn't notice any vegetables for lunch today and they were in such a rush there were no utensils OR napkins set out (lunch was pizza, tater tots and sliced bananas).
In addition, the teachers seem to pick up all the bowls and cups to put them in the dishes bin.
My kids at my old center ate family style. While there are spills sometimes, I feel like kids benefit SO much - conversation, manners, fine motor skills. In addition they were responsible for clearing their dishes after a meal after asking to be excused.
I brought this up to my new director and her response is basically she didn't want to waste food. My new plan is to slowly work up to the kids doing things for themselves and then approach her again. Im on a hunt for small pitchers to teach them to pour a drink for themselves at snack...then we'll see!
So I guess what I'm asking is how much time do you get for lunch and do you do Family Style dining? (is it a state mandated thing at all?)