Skip to content

Teaching and Learning

The dining experience is a wonderful way for children to learn and develop lifelong skills around food.

We hope these short videos will inspire you to reflect on:

  • The social aspect of dining in your service
  • How food can be used to support children's learning
  • The importance of listening to children and parents
  • The importance of your role in the provision of food and supporting children's overall growth and development through “the language of food”

The dining experience

The adult invites the children to prepare the table for dinner. This involves collaboration, cooperation and planning. Table clothes and flowers are added.

Now it’s time to set the table notice the place mats which show the children where to place their knives, forks and spoons. The use of real glasses, crockery, and cutlery respects the competence of the children as they help each other.

Family style dining

Dinner is served using large serving bowls to facilitate this family style dining experience. This offers choice and recognises children’s ability to decide on the portion size they will eat. The children take turns to pass the bowl and talk amongst themselves.


Children pour their drinks from a jug which is easily manageable.

Social dining experience The adult sits, eats and talks with the children.

Tidy up

The children scrape off their places when they are finished dinner and return to play with their friends.

When the older children notice that everyone is finished dinner, they return to the table to assist with the tidying up. Guided by the adult the children make sure that the tablecloth is dry before folding and putting it away. The educator has prepared the other tables with blackboards and other materials enhancing and enriching the opportunities for children’s experiences and emergent interests.

Related pages

Safefood logo

The site content is redirecting to the NI version.