August 2, 2013

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , at 4:34 pm by Lund

Friday is pizza day at Lund’s Early Childhood Education program.  The older toddlers make pizza every week to share with the entire center for lunch.  This process starts the night before when the children learn how to mix together yeast, salt, sugar, flour and water to make the dough.  They then check in on their work on Friday morning and are able to see how the dough has changed over night.  This is a practical opportunity for the teachers to talk to the children about the chemical reactions between the acid and alkaline ingredients that cause the dough to rise and also a lesson in patience as they need to wait until the next day to get to the fruition of the project.

On Friday morning, the cooking process starts as the children get to work spreading the sauce on the dough.  This usually takes hands, not spoons or any other sort of kitchen implement and so can get a little messy.  The teachers are unperturbed and simply put plastic sheeting down on the floor and let the children get to work.  They experiment with different flavor combinations and really try to incorporate as many local and fresh ingredients as possible.  Past specials have featured cauliflower and parmesan crust with sauce and cheese, quinoa maple crust with avocado cream sauce, pizza with zucchini crust and toppings such as apples, pineapples, olives and peppers.

Sometimes they need to go to the store to pick up ingredients for these creative specials and so the whole class takes a field trip down the hill to the grocery store to pick up what they need.  This often results in an excited announcement from the chefs to the other shoppers, “We’re making pizza today!”  This is a chance for the children to practice the social skills needed to ask for assistance at the deli counter and to wait in line.  It also allows the opportunity for conversation around where food comes from and what represents healthy choices.

This week the Pizza Day Special was pesto, chicken, mozzarella, ricotta (Broccoli and cauliflower….shhh, the children didn’t even notice). 

The pizza is shared by everyone for lunch and has become a beloved weekly tradition at LECP.   The children feel directly engaged in the process and as a result often eat more of this meal than others as they feel pride in their work.  And who doesn’t love pizza?


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