Children Practice Social Skills and Model Appropriate Eating During Snack Time, Lunch Time

January 26, 2022

1.26.22 Birthday Party.

Students celebrate their birthdays in class, and we aren’t always able to share those stories. But “C” recently turned 12, and it was a very big deal, not only to him but to many staff members who have come to love him.

C made cupcakes at home and brought them in to share. Mrs. Kathy, our HR Specialist also brought in cupcakes for him, so the food was plentiful. The students in Room 12 were thrilled, of course, and so were all of the friends around the building that C visited with a cupcake.

In terms of social skills practiced during this special snack time, C and his classmates got to participate in the Happy Birthday song, waiting for others to be served before eating, saying “happy birthday” to their friend, making a choice between chocolate and vanilla, and cleaning up when done.


11.24.21 Classroom Party!

Celebrations are the best, are they not? The other day, Room 6 had an early Thanksgiving party, with special plates and napkins, placemats, and snacks. Many thanks to the moms who sent in treats to make the day special.

11.2.21 Let’s talk about lunch!

Room 12 Teaching Assistant Ms. Danielle helps student N to tell her what he wants for lunch. Yes, he has brought his lunch with him in his lunchbox sent in from home, but here she has him ask her for what else he needs in order to eat it. For example, he can ask for plasticware or a napkin. He might need help to heat his food up in the microwave or get something from the refrigerator. Maybe he needs assistance opening a package.

N uses an assistive technology device to communicate. By learning to tell someone what he wants and needs, he will be able to do so with other people outside of the classroom, such as in a later school, or in his community. Danielle and her team know the importance of teaching communication skills and giving children the practice they need to master those skills, to prepare for successful lives.

This is an example of what people who support Crossroads are supporting.


7.1.21 A Last Lunch

Before we broke for summer, last week in Room 7 students shared a table for lunch one last time. Of course, most children at Crossroads will be back in July for Summer Session, but celebrating the year with a time to eat and be together was enjoyed for sure. This class has worked hard this year on their table skills, and getting everyone at this table at one time for a picture is something of an accomplishment!

6.21.21 Picnics

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather to enjoy lunches outdoors is one of the best perks of this season. A picnic is a celebration in and of itself – of a nice day, the people you’re with, and of good times! And a picnic with your class is a fun way to do all of that plus practice the skills that you’ve worked on all year long in your classroom, skills that come with food time, like sharing spaces, eating what parents have packed for us, eating meal items first and dessert items last, conversing with each other, throwing away garbage and not throwing away utensils and dishes that need to go home…

Here are a couple of pictures that Room 14 recently sent in (thank you Room 14) of one of their recent picnics.

9. 18.20 Back to school

…..and back to lunches in the classroom. Children are physically distanced at their tables, but they’re still able to interact, enjoy each other’s company, and get a little bit silly. This visit was chock full of social skills, despite the increased focus on distancing!

8.21.2020 It’s the last day of ESY (Extended School Year, also known as “summer session” and Room 4 is enjoying their lunch together. You can see that they’re eating nicely, but you can’t hear their conversation, which includes labeling food items, asking questions of others, answering questions from others. Topics include the tee-shirts they’re all wearing, made in class, who has a “room” and what’s in their room, and where everyone will be in the fall. Social skills have come so far this year!

7.28.2020 Reopening this summer has had many changes in the wake of COVID-19. But one thing that  hasn’t changed is how food times tend to be good times to practice social skills.

When students have lunch in their classrooms, first they wash hands and get their lunch boxes. These are important skills for life that involve health and independence. Eating at designated spots at their tables involves developmental skills in the realms of spatial awareness and attending to boundaries.

But the skills that have to do with communication and interaction are closely knit with developing social skills that will help with relationships going forward. Here’s what we can see:

  • Talking to/communicating with friends as able.
  • Asking for help (with a wrapper or straw).
  • Cleaning up one’s own trash and spills.
  • Offering help to another, or helping another when asked.
  • Responding to teachers to the level able.
  • Exploring humor and silliness!

Thanks to Room 5 for the fun visit and after-lunch pictures today!

3.26.2020 Update

With school closed for the second week in a row over the COVID-19 virus, this post is to offer a resource for addressing snack time for our at home learners. This activity is shared by Ms. Rebecca, Room 5’s Childhood Education Teacher, and is one of the activities she emailed to her parents just this morning. It goes along with WACKY WEDNESDAY of this week’s Virtual Spirit Week, and also gives her students a chance to be creative with food!

Found on, this link will show you how make rainbow toast. What better way to make bread WACKY than to paint on it. Here’s a website that tells you how:

Thank you, Rebecca, for this wonderful share!

3.13.19 In the classrooms of Crossroads, snack and lunch times are frequently much more than simply snack time or lunch time.

In addition to taking in needed nourishments and hydration, another important aspect of snack and lunch times, is the social skills that are impacted. Snack time and lunch time are times each day for students to sit at the table with their friends.

If you’re an observer during snack time or lunch time,  you’ll notice many cool tasks happening at the table. You’ll see children interacting and modeling appropriate eating routines. You’ll notice them trying new foods and following through on foods Mom and Dad wanted their little one to eat.


Beyond the Healthy Food Program activities that are done in the classrooms each week, snack times are often the times when teachers will introduce a new healthy item to the classroom.
Frequently a child who previously found the appearance of new foods aversive will show improved tolerance when a new food appears while a familiar and preferred one is present.


Young children will often watch each other for cues of how to behave, making snack time and lunch time great points in the day for them to adopt new foods into their  repertoires.

Considering that our Healthy Food Program is guided by a vision that all children in our care will improve their individual eating habits during their time with  us, and grow to be healthy, pro-nourished individuals, our teachers and therapists are always finding fantastic ways to work on the eating challenges that take our special needs population by storm. For our young students, too, healthy eating is something to be learned early for best health through life. Much positive reinforcement is given for the healthy eating steps that children take.

There are several more social, attending and self-care aspects of snack time, too. For example, retrieving snacks from cubbies and backpacks when requested by the teachers, remaining in seats with others at a table for an established duration of time, cleaning up after selves when snack time is done, throwing away trash in the bin, while saving utensils and dishes that need to be washed. For young children these are all skills to be practiced with consistency in order that our students grow to function with maximum independence in life. This also serves as a time to teach communication skills. Teachers and Teaching Assistants teach their students to label the items in lunch boxes, so that they learn to request those foods by name. They work with children to say, “cracker,”, “juice,” and “done.”  They help children to say, “do you want one?”, “yes please” and “no thank you.”



We’re always proud of our students’ progress and gains with all the skills they work on during the school day, as well as hearing the great things they are doing at home. If you have a story about a skill your child has learned or practiced during snack time or meal time at home, please leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from you!


Family Portrait DayStudents and reinforcers, it’s an individualized thing