CHILDREN in child care are being taught how to open a clingwrapped sandwich, rip the top off a yoghurt and peel fruit as schools report pupils are skipping lunch as they struggle to open foods.
Timber Tots Child Care in Brisbane's Camp Hill is rolling out classes for three- and four-year-olds after the local primary school, Norman Park State School, flagged that not all early grade children are competent in independent eating.
"Parents pack lunches and kids rarely have any contact with zip locked bags, clingwrap or fruits that need to be peeled. When they get to school it can be very frustrating for them when they are left wrangling with their tub of yoghurt," Jana Walker, director of Timber Tots Child Care told The Courier-Mail.
"Our classes will teach children how to make a sandwich and how to eat lunch on their laps without spills. We asked the local schools that our children will eventually attend how we could best prepare them. This was one of the areas. We want our children to be well prepared and confident about the school routine," Ms Walker said.
Accredited dietitian Kate Di Prima warns parents to avoid overwrapping their children's lunches.
"Children have a small window of focus to eat their lunch as they are keen to play with their friends. My advice is to buy a bento-style lunch box with lots of compartments and avoid packaging entirely.
"Peel the oranges or put the sultanas into separate compartments. Zip lock bags are not necessary. Show the child how to open the lunch box and make sure they are competent before starting school," Ms Di Prima said.
"If there is only one teacher for more than 20 pupils then the children must learn to be independent. I hear so many parents worried that their kids are not eating lunch. Keep it simple for them, that's a good start," she said.
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