A typical Gujarati meal, some dishes cooked by the parents of special children and some bought from a food store, but the idea was to project the regional meal of the particular region. This year theme is Sagar- a medley of Assam and Gujarat. All the teaching programs are centred around these two cities of India during this academic year. The children learn the culture, customs and food of this particular area. So this month, on 28th September 2017, a food festival was organised to focus on the traditional food of Gujarat.
In month of March, there will be another food festival that will focus on the traditional food of Assam. But that is for later.
It s an Indian culture, that the first bite of the food is served to Gods. With a small prayer, thanking the God for putting food on the table, all the food is first served to Gods. Children learn that there is somebody above all, who is blessing us with our daily meals and a prayer is a must.
There was a great assortment of the food displayed like a buffet. Parents volunteered to stand behind the long dining table, waiting to serve to each child. There were two such tables for display, one on the 1st floor and another on 2nd floor. The children from each class came in one file, and were served according to their needs. The children learnt to wait for their turn, serve only what is required so that there is no wastage of food, and take only that food that they like to eat. They learn about the different taste in food (sweet, sour, salty, oily, with gravy, dry, fried, baked, steamed) they learn about different fragrance in food, the texture, about pairing of food with chappatis, with rice, with bread and many other things connected to food. Many such words are added to their dictionary and they begin to recognise these food items at home, in their friend’s home and even at a restaurant. There is a follow-up in the lesson plan in their classroom (and at home) so that the idea stays on. Children are encouraged to bring pictures of the food that they liked and stick them in their work-book at art class, children who know to read and write may jot down few lines about the food in their work-book. Home-science students learn to make some of these traditional dishes.
Teachers helped students bring the food to their classroom where they sat with other classmates and enjoyed the meals. During meals, they learn table etiquettes. Some learnt to use the fork and spoon, while others learnt to eat with fingers without spilling on the floor. According to their ability, they are taught different aspects of dining. Children learn to eat in harmony, to chew their food well, not to talk while eating and not to waste food. They are taught to wash their hand before and after eating. Some children learn how to pack the left overs and save for another day, clean the tables and wash their own plate after use. Teachers monitor while they ate, guiding them at every step.
There is displine and etiquettes that will help them at home and also whenever they go with their parents for a family function.