MAKE IT! SUPERTRYER PLACEMAT
Asking your children to try new foods – especially fruits and vegetables – can be difficult. We think that the simple act of trying is as an accomplishment in itself. Our Supertryer Placemat is the perfect way to encourage your little ones to try new foods and to mark down their tasting accomplishments.
MAKE YOUR OWN SUPERTRYER PLACEMAT:
PRINT the food templates below.
SELECT a background. We like to use paper that is 11″ x 17″ in size.
CUT out the foods of your choice that you want to include on your placemat. Use what we have provided, or find some images in magazines, old books, or draw your own.
PASTE the pictures onto the background.
PRINT the Supertryer Checklist and glue it to the back of your placemat.
LAMINATE the page (yourself if you have a laminating machine, or take it to your local Fedex Office and have them laminate for you).
USE dry-erase markers to fill in your checklist.
THE SUPERTRYER PLACEMAT IN ACTION!
We were so thrilled to receive an email from Anne, a Kindergarten teacher in Melbourne, Australia, who has successfully brought the Supertryer placemat into her own classroom.
HERE’S WHAT ANNE HAD TO SAY:
Hi, I’m Anne & I teach a 4/5 year-old preschool group of 24 children in Balwyn, Victoria, Australia. Y’see, a few months ago I was trawling through past issues of your most excellent magazine, looking for inspiration of a crafty kind to help stimulate the children’s interest in all things educational, when I happened upon your Supertryer Placemat. Knowing you’re avid supporter of the adopt-don’t-shop program, I reasoned that you’d be wholly in favour of a tiny Aussie woman ‘adopting’ your idea for her own free-range kiddie farm, and so I gave your idea a loving home in suburban Melbourne. Because healthy eating and physical activity are embedded into my program, we enjoy shared fruit & veg at snack time. To help develop a sense of community, I ask that parents send along 2 pieces of fruit one day per week for everyone to share. I’m forever inviting the children to try different things at snack time, but children tend to eat what they know they like, and all the discussion in the world about trying different foods seems to make little difference. But then… something amazing happened.
At snack time we sit in groups of six at four coloured tables. I made 4 placemats, each the corresponding colour of a table. The placemats were debuted on the Monday following Mother’s Day, and, wow. Just wow. I don’t have the words to tell you what an incredible learning experience your idea has provided. Your simple yet completely geniusy (it’s a word, trust me, there’s no need to check) idea ticks all the obvious boxes – literacy, maths, communication, science, blah blah blah – but further to that, the children are excited about trying new food and making healthy choices; your idea helps to develop the children’s emerging autonomy as they’re encouraged to make those choices & recognise and celebrate their achievement and the achievements of their friends in trying something different; it promotes a sense of community; it provides the children with the opportunity to understand diversity & the similarities and differences in people; it supports the children in joining in a social experience that helps to sustain productive relationships… and there’s even more, I could keep going… Quite simply, from an educational viewpoint, your idea is sheer brilliance.
Honestly, your simple idea provides so much scope for quality learning opportunities – everything from literacy and numeracy to emotional and social development. As cliched as it may sound, it’s inspiring. It’s inspiring to me as an educator, because I keep finding new and inventive ways to use your idea as a basis for extending the children’s learning. It’s inspiring for the children who are excited to explore a world beyond just healthy eating, and truly embrace the joy of each other’s achievements. And it’s just a placemat…
The children came up with the idea of writing to you. They wanted to thank you for the placemats, because they truly enjoy using them.
A NOTE FROM THE BLUE GROUP…
“We are the children in Blue Group at Balwyn East Kindergarten. We live in Melbourne, Australia. We are writing to thank you for sharing your great Supertryer Placemats idea with everyone. We like using them every day! The placemats are lots of fun and help us to try different food. Sometimes we like the new food that we try and sometimes we don’t, but Anne says it’s good to keep trying. We think you had a very good idea. We have some things to tell you and some questions to ask you, but if you’re too busy writing a book to answer them, that’s okay.”
Benjamin. I’m 5. I like bananas and watermelon. Do you like bananas?
Bianca. I’m 4. I had my birthday in the park! I tried some tomato but I still don’t like it, but I tried it, I really did!
Caleb. I’m 5 years old. I really like the placemats. My favourite fruit is grapes. They’re yummy!
Chloe. I’m 4. I can write my name. It starts with ‘C’, like carrot. I can count to 20.
Ethan. I’m 5. I didn’t like cucumber before, but then I tried it again and now I like cucumber!
Evan. I’m 5. It’s important to eat healthy food every day. It’s good for your body and you have energy for playing.
Fraser. I’m 4 years old. Are there some veggies that you don’t like?
Lara. I’m 4. I love mangoes. Do you love mangoes?
Morgan. I’m 4. I like the placemats because we’re trying to eat different things so we can have healthy bodies.
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