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Please Pass the Water

child hands pitcher of water to another child

About this video

The children in this clip attend a mixed-age early childhood center sponsored by a public university. Open snack at the center lasts for about 45 minutes. The children prepare their snack at one table and then carry it to a designated snack table to eat it. Sometimes, as on the day that this clip was taken, several children want to have snack at the same time, so a second table is set up. The pitchers of drink are always on the table that is designated for eating. The teachers make sure that all the children have been offered a snack through a card system. When a child wants a snack, he takes the card with his name on it off of a peg and drops it into the snack basket. The teacher knows that the cards still hanging on the peg represent children who haven’t yet had a snack. The children are responsible for washing their own hands prior to eating.

This type of snack system prevents the stress and time taken by whole group trips to wash hands, waiting while everyone gets ready to eat, and cleaning up several tables and the surrounding floor. It provides a cozier, more intimate snack environment, and it gives children the opportunity to eat when they feel hungry. Teachers have more opportunities to sit and visit with the children as they eat snack, because they are not serving and supervising the whole group at one time. As demonstrated in this clip, open snack does not mean that there are fewer manners or poorer behavior. Maddie (3 years, 9 months) uses good manners as she asks Hassan to “please pass the water.” She waits until Hassan (3 years, 10 months) passes it. Sandra (3 years, 3 months) was feeling shy because of the camera, so she did not participate. Maddie demonstrates that the children at this center are comfortable with pouring their own drinks at snack.

Note: This video clip was made possible by STARnet Regions I & III with funding from the Illinois State Board of Education.



Maddie: Please pass the water (multiple times).

Hassan: Here (He passes the water).

Benchmarks and How They Were Met

BenchmarksHow They Were Met
Language Arts
1.A.ECa: Follow simple one-, two- and three-step directions.
Hassan passed the pitcher to Maddie in response to her request.
Language Arts
1.B.ECa: Use language for a variety of purposes.
Maddie verbally requested the water.
Physical Development and Health
19.A.ECd: Use eye-hand coordination to perform tasks.
Hassan watched the pitcher and cup as he poured. Maddie alternated between watching the pitcher and looking up as she poured.
Physical Development and Health
19.B.ECa: Coordinate movements to perform complex tasks.
Maddie and Hassan showed coordination by pouring the water from the pitcher into their cups.
Social/emotional Development
30.A.ECb: Use appropriate communication skills when expressing needs, wants, and feelings.
Maddie said “please” when asking for the water pitcher.
Social/emotional Development
30.A.ECd: Begin to understand and follow rules.
Maddie followed the class rules for preparing and serving snacks.
Social/emotional Development
30.A.ECe: Use materials with purpose, safety, and respect.
Maddie and Hassan both used the pitcher to carefully pour water. Hassan waited for Sandra to help him pass the pitcher. When she did not, he moved so that Maddie could reach it.
Social/emotional Development
30.C.ECc: Show some initiative, self-direction, and independence in actions.
Maddie prepared her own snack and poured her own water.
Social/emotional Development
31.C.ECa: Begin to share materials and experiences and take turns.
Hassan and Maddie took turns pouring the water.

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Preschool Program

Intended audience(s):
  • Teachers / Service providers

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:
Reviewed: 2017