Family Style Dining

TLC Preschool and Alpha Bear Club Offer the Child Care Food Program which allows all children, regardless of income, free breakfast, lunch and snack.

Children ages 1-2 years are encouraged to feed themselves, drink from either sippy or open cups and start to serve food themselves with the hand over hand assistance of their teachers.

Children ages 3-5 years continue with independent feeding, self service of food and pouring of their drinks.

Breakfast is served from 730am-9am: Children arrive, wash hands and are offered a variety of healthy breakfast foods and milk or milk substitute.

Lunch is served from 1130am -1230pm: A hot lunch is offered to all students daily. pitchers of milk or milk substitute, fruit, veggies, protein and starch foods are placed in child sized serving dishes with appropriate utensitls. A "thank you" song is sung before this meal as we join together as a class. Discussions of the food, its textures, colors and tastes are explored as children learn skills like pouring, measuring, estimation, fine motor control. Conversations are held to promote social unity and language development.

Afternoon snack is served 3pm-4pm: After rest time, children hands then gather together to join in for snack. This is a popular dismissal time therefore children may be served snack by their teachers.

Children ages 2+ year are encouraged to help set the table before and "be excused" from the table, clear their spaces and put their cups/dishes in the appropriate place after.

Benefits of Good Manners:

* Please and Thank You: Preschool children use these words to "please pass the milk" Or "no thank you for the butter". Toddlers are modeled this behavior by their teachers.

* No Thank You bite: Children see others serve themselves and may try new foods otherwise passed over and a 'no thank you' bite is encouraged. A "no thank you bite" allows children to try a food they may not like or have had before. If a child does not like the food, children spit the food out or say "Ick", "Yuck" or "thats nasty'. A "no thank you bite" is an acceptable way to try something then put it in a napkin if they don't like it.


Nutrition: The Child Care Food Program is a federally funded program that provides nutritious meals to all children. Menus for parents review are avaiable and medically necessary ore religious exeptions can be made.

Social Experience: From babbling, cooing and conversations, to storytelling to just chatting with friends, mealtimes are social times. Coopeartion and patience is also experienced and practiced as children learn to pass food wait for the milk pitcher to come to them.

Math and Science: Colors, textures, smells, taste, scooping, pouring! Oh the math and science experiences that come with food are immeasurable! Children of all ages are learning vital life and academic skills during mealtimes!

After visiting a your child's classroom, parents might wonder how family style meals can happen at home. Here are a few family meal tips from child care centers and preschools that you can do at home to help with your child's development:

  • Resist the temptation to pre-fill your child's plate.
  • Instead, try some child-sized bowls, serving utensils or pitchers. Children can use plastic tongs or a large spoon to serve and plastic measuring cups with a spout to pour.
  • Encourage everyone to sit down together and one-at-a-time share something good about their day.