Preparing a Thanksgiving Feast in a Montessori Classroom
1. Decide what you want to prepare with your class.
In our 3-6 classroom, we made apple butter, cornbread, vegetable soup, and butter.
2. Choose what job everyone will be doing.
When it comes to preparing a feast, there are many jobs with multiple difficulty levels. We sorted out the steps and figured out what job would be best for each child in our class. With anything from stirring to writing place cards, every age child will have an important task to complete!
3. Prepare the “works”.
In our class, we had color coordinating trays and baskets, matching the color of the different foods used. (An orange tray for carrots, a green tray for celery, etc.) Make sure to prepare any extra works that you may want to include as well. (For example, Place Card Writing or Flower Arranging.)
Chopping red peppers
Chopping sweet potatoes
4. Discuss the importance of everyone’s job.
We had a special circle time where we talked about everyone having a different job. No two jobs were the same, but every job is an important and necessary part of our feast preparation!
5. Make your Thanksgiving dishes.
Our children LOVED helping make our food! After they finished preparing their ingredients, they got to put them directly into the larger bowls (or crock-pots), which was a nice visual for them to see exactly how they were helping out. After all of the larger ingredients were combined, the teachers helped the children measure the dry ingredients and sauces into the mix. Our food was now ready to cook!
During this time, we also had a small circle where children passed around a tightly sealed jar of heavy whipping cream. They shook the jar for several minutes to create fresh butter!
This is also when we had our student begin working on place cards for everyone.
Place card making
6. Prepare the table.
Another important part of the Thanksgiving feast is making the table look beautiful! After arranging the tables, one teacher read stories and played games with the children in a separate area of the classroom while the other teacher helped some of the students set the tables. One child set out placemats, another folded napkins, one set out and poured the water, while another child worked on place settings. We even had a child create some beautiful flower arrangements!
Setting the tables
Recipes We Used
1. APPLE BUTTER
- 51⁄2 pounds of apples, peeled and finely chopped* ( 3-4 different types of apples)
- 4 cups of sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Place apples in a large bowl.
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
- Pour over apples and mix well.
- Place in crock-pot, cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
- Decrease heat to low; cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown.
- Stir occasionally.
- Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer.
- If desired, whisk until smooth.
- Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch head space.
- Cover and freeze.
*Our teachers peeled the apples
2. VEGGIE SOUP
- 3/4 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup torn bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large potato, peeled* and diced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled* and diced
- 3 vegetable broth
- 2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- In a large skillet, saute celery and red pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Add potato, sweet potato and carrot. Saute 3-5 minutes longer.
- Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Yield: 12 serving (about 3 quarts).
*Our teachers peeled the potatoes
For our cornbread, we bought a box mix and had a few children each add an ingredient. We then baked it in our class’s toaster oven.
- 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- Pour heavy whipping cream into a jar, leaving a small amount of space so the butter has room to move when shaken.
- Shake until the butter forms into a solid substance (approximately 30 minutes)
- Pour out remaining buttermilk (or save it for later!) and transfer butter into serving dishes