“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”Hippocrates
The Meaning of Diet
At the City Garden School Kindergarten, students learn about food and nutrition. Our nutritional theory is based not only on scientific findings but also on findings in connection with the soul and spirit. This means that in addition to the supply of all nutrients necessary for humans, we pay attention to the holistic effect of the food on body, soul and spirit.
In this sense, we prefer a diet that is a sustainable, healthy, and wholesome. Organic farming sources are preferred. However, it is not about setting up dogmas for a healthy diet, but about tailoring each form of nutrition to the individual person.
Nutrition and the Transition from Early Childhood to Elementary Child
A healthy diet is particularly important for the first seven-year period. Because within the first seven years of human life, the physical foundation is built and the greatest growth processes take place in the body. Children perceive the world with all their senses. In addition to the content of the food and the origin, the preparation and the way food is shared are also very important.
The main idea is that the child is not merely a consumer of food, but also involved as much as possible in the everyday processes related to eating in kindergarten. This is especially possible for the preparation of the daily snack.
The snack for the respective day is freshly prepared daily during the free play time of the children and with their help. The main ingredients are raw vegetables and fruits and various grains. It is ideal if the vegetables and fruit can come from a school garden and the children may help with the harvest. Children can experience wholeness of the process of how and from where food arrives on the table. We want to help children develop awareness and respect for food and the work people do with nature.
Energy, Development, and Grounding Focus
We believe an organic and hearty mid-morning snack provides the children with energy to devote to their physical development and the grounding focus they need for healthy neurological development.
The children help sort and cut fruit and vegetables. They also help by measuring and mixing ingredients and buttering bread. Knowing what snack to expect each day (oatmeal day is followed by bread day) helps them gain a greater sense of rhythm in a sometimes chaotic world.
Recent scientific research, and commentary by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that it is worth sourcing organic foods for children. Pesticide residues on food can cause problems with both physical health and cognitive development pathways. As our children grow into strong and healthy adults, their bodies need the strength given to them by nutrient-rich, lovingly prepared foods.
Liveliness Instead of Dogmas
One of the most important undertakings in the realm of food and food philosophy is to stay in the process, in the individual and in the living. The idea is not to establish a set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true, but to be able to deal with the earth and people more sensitively and attentively by consciously grasping mental and spiritual processes related to nutrition and eating.
Read Part 1 of our 5 Elements in the Waldorf Kindergarten series here.