Eating as a Family at Our Caring Way, Virginia

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Nira Banez, Director of Our Caring Way in Falls Church, Virginia, jumped in with both feet and switched over to a full family style dining practice in March 2018, just after she received a family style dining kit through her participation in the Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative (ECELC) program. In just two weeks of using the kit, Nira was fascinated with the way the children were serving themselves and having polite conversations with each other. Nira was also impressed with the older children taking pride in being able to help the younger children.

Nira states, “Our Caring Way is so grateful to be a part of Northern Virginia’s ECELC program. Our main goal was to improve our family style dining practices. We have four younger kids in our group where the older kids assist and help with passing and serving the foods and drinks. The foods are served in child-size bowls that children can lift and pass. The use of ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ is emphasized. They are also encouraged to try new foods and serve themselves. After mealtime, each child cleans up and puts the used utensils in labeled containers. This allows our children to develop reading skills and identify names for utensils such as cups, plates, and forks. These are great factors for our children’s growth and development.”

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