Lunchtime is kind of a big deal in the Primary Montessori classroom. There is so much to do to prepare, and eager small hands delight in the work it takes to set the tables, pour the water, and set out the lunch boxes before all of their classmates can sit down to enjoy their meals.
The directress and assistant set out name tags in advance, changing up who sits with whom each day. Once the name tags are place on each table, a child walks around, reading the names and placing woven place mats at each spot.
This child took great care in placing the mats just so!
While the children who volunteered earlier in the day set up the classroom for lunch, the Directress gathers with the rest of the children on the rug to sing songs. The children walking around the room setting up also sing while they work. Such a harmonious setting!
After the mats are placed, the plates and glasses come next.
Next, two children work together, one placing cloth napkins at each setting, while the other is in charge of forks and spoons.
Silverware is heavy!
Perhaps one of the most fun parts of setting up lunch is one of the youngest children in the class taking responsibility for pouring water into each glass. He was so careful, so methodical, and took so much pride in this activity, which, as he grows older, will become more about contributing to the community around him. Each child will drink from the water he poured so carefully. How important he must feel!
Once the tables are set, the directress invites everyone to sit. The children wait until everyone is seated. The directress rings a bell once, and they all begin to unpack their lunches and socialize with their friends.
Children serve themselves or can ask for help opening or heating up food. They do as much of it themselves as they can manage, and take pride in this work.
This part of the day is so special, it is wonderful to witness. It feels like a big family gathering!
Thank you, Reghan, for inviting us into your classroom for lunch!