Food is an important part of culture and can provide a connection to a person’s family or country. As a teacher or early childhood educator, you can expose children to diverse food traditions. Celebrating food enjoyed by people around the world allows everyone to take part and feel included. It will also create a sense of community and foster connections.
Show pictures of foods from around the world
- Ask children if they have tried the foods shown on the pictures.
- Talk about how and where foods are grown or produced.
- Discuss how foods are prepared or served. For example, is the food served as part of a meal or eaten by itself.
- Ask if the food is similar to another food they know. Link foods to ingredients children already eat. For example, tacos may be new to some children, yet they may be familiar with chicken, cheese and sour cream.
Organize a taste test
Children will be able to see and touch the food, in addition to tasting. All of these promote learning and acceptance of foods.
This could be a small sample of any food. It could also be an activity like a “Breads of the World” potluck with croissants, rye bread, bannock, milk buns, naan and injera.
Invite children to try foods, without any pressure. Offer the food and let the child decide if they would like to try it. Be patient with children who are trying new foods. It can take up to 15 exposures before they become familiar with the new food.
Do a look-alike activity (suitable for the classroom)
- Ask students to pick a food they know. Then, get them to research a similar food from another part of the world. Have them present their findings to the class. Two examples to get started:
- If a student picks paneer, they could explore cheese from another part of the world.
- If they pick naan bread, they could explore breads from around the world.
Discuss menu items (suitable for early learning centres)
- Try a new dish on your menu once a month. Talk about where the dish comes from. Ask children to use their 5 senses. For example, you can ask: What colour is it? What does it smell like? What do you think it tastes like?
- Pick a recipe from your menu. Give a copy to each child to decorate. They can bring the recipe home and try it with their family.