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Ridge Meadows Elementary Snack Cart Helps Students Learn Essential Skills

Ridge Meadows Elementary Snack Cart Helps Students Learn Essential Skills

Ridge Meadows Elementary students and teachers roam the school’s hallways with a snack cart once a month, selling and delivering tasty treats to staff members and helping the students work on social and communication skills.

Speech-language pathologist Amy Kaestner and special education teachers Lydia Hines and Patricia Gruender developed this opportunity for their students.

“The purpose of the snack cart is not just to provide our lovely staff with treats,” Kaestner said. “It is to work on all kinds of skills with the kids, including but not limited to: social and communication skills, attention and following directions all while exposing them to more ‘joblike’ daily living activities.”

Kaestner and the students have been practicing organizing, counting, taking inventory, following directions and learning new vocabulary.

“It’s been fun, and the kids have been picking up on it quickly,” Kaestner shared.

After making the rounds, the students return to their classroom to update their inventory, see what’s selling well and what they need to purchase for next time.

“We come back to the classroom and check on the stock,” Kaestner said. “I ask them, ‘How many do we have? Let’s put some more in. Can you find them?’ It’s a little different for every student. We work on stocking with a few of them. We take note of how many snacks we started with and how many we ended with, and we do the math. With some of them, we work on saying, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and ‘Have a good day, goodbye.’"

Kaestner said they hope to operate the cart again next year.

“Next year, we’re looking at doing something like a punch card where staff members can pay $5 at the beginning of the year, and that will get you so many snacks throughout the year,” Kaestner said.

A Ridge Meadows staff member is greeted by a student pushing a snack cart.
A Ridge Meadows student greets a teacher after pulling a snack cart into the library.
Ridge Meadows speech-language pathologist Amy Kaestner and a student work on inventory after delivering snacks.
A Ridge Meadows Elementary student delivers a snack to a staff member with a snack cart.
A Ridge Meadows student gives speech-language pathologist Amy Kaestner a high-five.
A Ridge Meadows Elementary student looks for a snack item to hand out to a staff member.
A Ridge Meadows Elementary student gives a snack to a staff member.

 

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