Building a Restaurant, Preschool Style
SHARED by: Jessica Volkers, Teacher at Early Learning Foundations Preschool
Play is child’s work. Children learn best when they are motivated by topics and themes that are interesting and relevant to their lives. At Early Learning Foundations Preschool, we believe and have practiced this philosophy whole heartedly. The Fours classroom has co-created a restaurant curriculum, providing an approach to skill-building that is natural and holistic. Through this process, children have practiced early literacy skills, math readiness, social skills and fine motor skills. This curriculum touches on a familiar experience in which many of the families in the school community can relate. This curriculum ended with opening our very own restaurant.
How it began:
Through observation, we noticed that the children showed an in-depth interest in playing with a restaurant theme in the pretend area. Children began serving food to each other, exchanging money for food and even made their own (silly) recipes.
The Next Steps:
To take the theme one step further, we turned our snack time into a restaurant complete with bussers, servers and a hostess. To begin with the children played the part of bussers and restaurant customers while teachers controlled seating and serving. Everyone had an opportunity to practice good manners and patience at the restaurant.
After some practice with the teachers running the restaurant, it was time for the children to make it their own. Voting was an integral part of the decision process and integrated math skills into the activity. Child-friendly graphing exercises were used to facilitate the voting process and determine the name of the restaurant, type of restaurant and the type of food that would be served. We reviewed healthy foods and discussed nutrition. We had conversations about how a restaurant works and identified the jobs that are necessary to have a restaurant run effectively. The children filled all the roles of the restaurant and rotated so that each child had a chance at each job.
As we prepared to open the restaurant to customers (other than our own class), we decided on menu items and created the menus, which integrated literacy, math and fine motor skills. We had a brief introduction to money as we identified coins and pretended to exchange money. Lastly, the children decorated the classroom with handmade signs to prepared for the big reveal!
The Grand Open:
The Monkey Diner opened for business serving breakfast to parents, staff and students from other classrooms. Each student took their job very seriously and did a great job. The Monkey Diner earned $100 in tips that will be put toward a new toy for the classroom!
Thank you Lindsay DelFalco for helping out and sharing your photos!