School has begun again – for me this is somewhat sad. I’m going to miss the long periods of uninterrupted free play. I’m going to miss watching the interaction between the preschoolers and the school-age children.
Yes, I’m excited for the older children heading off to new adventures. I’m also looking forward to being able to focus more attention on the little ones and planning some activities specifically for their developmental levels. I’m eagerly anticipating the autumn leaves and yes, even the winter snow – these are such wonderful sensory experiences for the children (and me).
September brings many changes; changing seasons, variable weather, different schedules, new friends and more. As I was making my grocery list for the upcoming weeks’ menus I realized that there are some changes needed there too.
With the larger group here over the summer I needed to double many of the recipes to ensure we had enough food for meals. Last school year I had no school-aged children here for lunch but I did have several preschoolers with good appetites. This year’s preschool group is much younger and I again have no school-age children here for lunch. Even without doubling recipes there will be far too many leftovers from the current menu.
It’s time to revamp the menu again. I’m going to remove some of the items that cannot be scaled down for the younger/smaller group. I want to add menu items that encourage the infants and toddlers to be more independent at meal times – menu items that can be easily scooped onto a spoon or picked up by tiny fingers.
We’re going to need more cooked vegetables. The raw veggies and dip are magnificently nutritious but can be too difficult for many of the toddlers to chew. Salads are not popular with this little group – that doesn’t mean they won’t be served but they won’t be the only vegetable offered with a meal.
Yes, it’s time for me to go back to some old menu favourites and begin trying some new items too. Let the experiments begin – mealtime science during a period of adjustment.