It takes a lot of awesome teamwork every day to make, serve, and clean up at lunch at our Early Education Center. Two of us from the Development Team spent the day there, and it's always amazing to see how our teachers and students alike pitch in to make sure everyone gets a good meal!
First, it was time to cook. Each week, a menu is planned out in advance--both for a daily snack and the mid-day meal. The menu for Tuesday: an apple for snack time and rice, chicken, potato stir-fry, and egg drop cucumber soup for lunch.
There's a small kitchen off the main classroom, so the food is all prepared fresh daily. Every day, Group Home #6's foster dad goes to the school to make lunch for the kids and their teachers. It takes quite some time to prepare a meal for such a crowd. He gets to work on preparing lunch around mid-morning, while the children are doing classwork, and then during their outdoor recess.
By the time everyone comes inside from recess and gathers for their circle activity, it's time to start wiping down the tables, setting out bowls, and dishing out all the delicious food! Each day, the students take turns transforming the classroom into a lunchroom.
Today, that lucky kid is Jie! While his classmates participate in circle time, he starts by setting out name tags. Every day, the name tags get placed in different spots, making sure that everyone gets a chance to sit with different classmates throughout the week.
Meanwhile, hot soup--a perfect addition to any meal after a morning playing in the brisk winter air--gets poured into bowls by the proud chef and one of the teachers.
Then it's time to bring the soup out to the tables.
Jie gets to work putting out the utensils. A teacher explains that he should pay attention to the name tags. Some of his classmates have graduated to eating their lunch with chopsticks, while others prefer just to use a spoon. Jie did a great job making sure everyone got the right utensils.
Meanwhile, rice, chicken, and vegetables were getting dished out in the kitchen.
Time to wash hands! Ya needed a little help from a step stool to reach the little sink.
Pretty soon, everything was served. And Jie was ready! He made sure to set out special chairs for the teachers and us visitors.
He showed his classmates to their seats...
...And pretty soon, everyone was seated and ready to dig in.
Look at these two! They look like they're ready to have a lunch meeting.
Even the hens and bunnies in the yard outside got a good meal.
And Jie got to enjoy the fruits of his labors! "It's good, right?!" he yelled emphatically. He looked over at one of our bowls. "Make sure to each your rice," he tells us. "And your chicken!"
Yang loved the day's menu selection.
And Tao cleaned out his bowl in a flash.
After everyone was done, it was time to clean up. Everyone cleared out their own space and scraped out their bowls.
Jie, being the designated lunch monitor of the day, got a smock on and went to wash dishes. With a little help from his teachers, he got started.
And guess who came to help rinse? Jie's friend Qiang!
"Hey, want to switch places?" Jie asked then. "You wash, I'll dry?"
"Ok!" said Qiang.
Pretty soon, the clean bowls piled up, and Jie and Qiang congratulated themselves on a job well done.
These kids are no strangers to the power of the phrase, "many hands make light work!