The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegetarianism in the Montessori School

Posted on May 11, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Lily Donofrio

A Montessori is an alternative schooling system that practices the beliefs and teachings of Maria Montessori. Their main principle is to have students learn at their own pace, creating a willing and excited student. Based off this environment, free thinkers are born.

My area of expertise at the Montessori is in the Nest program. Students in the Nest range from ages 1-2. In this stage of development, human brains are at their most absorbent, much like a sponge. It is crucial to be very cautious of your words and actions around children at this time.

Everyday at 9:30 am, the class convenes for a snack at their kiddie tables with their kiddie chairs and kiddie silverware. The adults in the classroom sit at the ends of the tables, in the same size equipment. Before every meal, we sing a song, reminding us to be thankful:

“Oh, the Earth is good to me,
so I thank the Earth.
For giving me, the things I need
The sun and the rain and the appleseed.
The Earth is good to me.”

The presence of the adults plays a major role in influencing children. It is crucial for the adults to behave how the children are expected to behave, with exceptional table manners and polite table talk.

Many of the children at the Montessori are raised with a vegetarian lifestyle. With its numerous health benefits, who wouldn’t want to raise their children that way? With this knowledge in mind, teachers plan the snacks to be organic, vegetarian, and allergen friendly. Together we’ve made rosemary potatoes, hummus and crackers, quesadillas, yeast rolls with avocado, assorted trail mix, etc.

Every morning, the teachers set out the tools for making the food eaten at snack time. Children may choose to prep the food for themselves and their classmates. This creates a sense of accomplishment for the child, and a knowledge of the ingredients in the food they’re eating. These principles are bound to have an influence on their future diets.

Education on our food and it’s origin will help to reduce obesity and other diet related diseases. Children at Montessori age are a perfect target for nutrition education, and hopefully what we teach them will carry them through life and influence others.

Here are some of the recipes we use with the children:

– 3 cups of russet potatoes (cut to preference)
– 1/2 cup melted vegan Earth Balance buttery spread
– 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary (chopped)
– Pepper and salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss, and spread on cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and Rosemary is fragrant.

– Whole grain tortillas (2 per quesadilla)
– Veganaise or any vegan mayonnaise (2 Tablespoons per quesadilla; one Tablespoon on each tortilla)
– Daiya Cheddar Cheese (or any vegan Cheddar cheese) (1/2 cup per quesadilla)
– Sprinkle of smoked paprika
Spread Veganaise onto each tortilla and place in an olive oil coated pan over medium heat. Sprinkle cheese onto heating tortilla. Place another tortilla on top of cheese. Flip for even cooking. Once the cheese has melted, take the quesadilla off the stove and sprinkle paprika on top. Cut and serve with optional guacamole or salsa.

(big batch)
– 1 cup shelled walnuts
– 1 cup almonds
– 1 cup cashews
– 1 cup peanuts
– 1/2 cup dehydrated blueberries
– 1/2 cup craisins
Combine and serve!

– 1 packet active dry yeast
– 4-1/2 cups flour
– 2/3 cup water
– 1 Tablespoon organic sugar
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 Tablespoon oil

Combine ingredients. Let sit for 30 minutes in a towel covered bowl, allowing the yeast to rise. Place in a greased mini muffin bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Optional toppings or fillings: avocado, Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, cinnamon and sugar, hummus, vegan chocolate hazelnut spread, or whatever your imagination creates.

Lily is a high school student in Florida writing for The Vegetarian Resource Group.

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