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Montessori Snacks

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
DD goes to Montessori and we do snack once a month. The policy manual has 'suggestions' for Montessori snack time which were in line with the snacks we serve at home so I had no concerns. The first day I went and observed the class I was a little disappointed with the snack. It was 'chicken bisk? crackers and little sesame street juice boxes. I figured that this may happen once and a while where the snack is not great but it seems to be frequent. The things DD is telling me she is eating during snack time is not in line with what I expected. I know it's not cheap to feed a good healthy snack twice a day but its only once a month. Last month I think cost me about $23.00 which is not bad for 20 kids.

Does anyone else deal with this. DD has only been there a short time. Do question it? Start sending her own snack (I hesitate because I don't want to leave her out). The Director stressed to me they fed healthly snacks with the exception of the occasional party, which we are fine with. Just curious what others have experience and this is the norm?
post #2 of 18
I'd talk to the director if you think the quality (health-wise) of the snack is not what it says it should be in the parent manual. I know it's hard to come up with healthy ideas, but once a month isn't that difficult. We have to provide snack for the entire class for a one-week period, but only twice a year. It's hard to come up with five days worth of snacks! But, since it's only twice a year, it's not that big of a deal.

If this seems to be a consistent issue throughout the school, maybe the director needs to send a note home to all parents reminding them about the snack policy, and giving additional suggestions. Then, it doesn't single anyone out.
post #3 of 18
sadly, the crackers and juice probablt ARE considered "healthy".
the crackers (disgusting as they are) have whole grain in them, and the juice is juice. Now, we of course believe juice to be bad cuz it's pure sugar waiter, and the crackers to be hideous nasty forms of non-food, but from a more mainstream POV, they are "whole grains" and 100% fruit juice" , which is considered by many to be "healthy" food.

post #4 of 18
embarrassed to admit this....

but that was me. not as bad as chicken in a biskit...but i was in a rush, forgot about snack and quickly picked up some of thos supermarket mini muffins...you know, the ones with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP as the main ingredient.

I wasnt even thinking.

I got pulled aside and gently reminded that several of the children are exclusively organic...and while i wasnt expected to go that far...a simple snack of apples and cheese would be better for next time. then there was a note in our weekly "newsletter" reminding all parents to make better choices.

I am sure if you mention something to the teacher she might be open to doing the same thing for your classroom. if you wanted to be helpful, offer to make a list of healthful snack suggestions to be passed out to parents.

At our current school (my kids are now in lower el and upper el classrooms) snack is on a volunteer basis. whenever i am at costco i grab a bag of apples and a tub 'o goldfish for the teachers to have on hand for the days no snack is brought.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions. I wonder if it would be to much to ask what they are eating weekly? I worry that if DD gets confused or tells me she eats something but didn't really remember (she's 3) then I don't want to say to much unless I am sure.

I certainly understand that life happens and this may happen once and a while. But I also think some peoples idea of nutrition is very different from the next as mentioned above. DD is also on an almost 100% organic diet and I mainly buy organic snacks and juices but I don't expect that she get that everyday at school but not items with alot of sugar, sodium, etc. I am thinking maybe just sending her own beverage may help. Her obsession with juice lately is getting a bit out of hand since she tells me she gets alot of it and I am sure it's not watered down like we do at home.
post #6 of 18
I know at the school we're going to next year they will tell you what to buy, in a sense. Like "please bring in xxx amount of two different types of fruit and veggies". Fortunately, when I was there, the snacks I saw were orange slices, apple slices, and wheat thins (not huge on wheat thins, but better than most). The other day I observed they had little mini pizzas (english muffins, pizza sauce, cheese) and apples. Not too bad. They always have water to drink. I don't see why a parent should spend money on juice when water is sufficient and NOT full of sugar, kwim?
post #7 of 18
Maybe they need to be more specific about what it means to be "healthy" because I could see that many parents would consider a snack of crackers and juice to be healthy. Maybe some parents could come up with a list of healthy suggestions and some ingredients that should not be included, like corn syrup, a certain amount of sugar, trans fat.

Our school buys the snacks. Usually fruit and crackers.
post #8 of 18
I would talk to the director about the meaning of the word "healthy."

So they were artificially chicken flavored crackers? Did I read that right? That's gross. Maybe they should just stop having the parents bring snacks altogether? My DS just started at M but the parents don't bring snacks, the school provides the same snack every day. At least that way you'd know what your child was eating and you wouldn't be suprised by chicken flavored crackers.

Or maybe instead of making a list of healthy 'suggestions', the list could be manditory, so you KNOW it's going to be a healthy snack off of this list...
post #9 of 18
When my son went to a different Montessori years ago (he was 2 then, he's now 9), parents were always doing that. Unfortuantely, the school was fine with it.

I just kept bringing in my nice, healthy snacks when it was our turn and hoped that someone would follow suit.
post #10 of 18
Chicken flavoured biscuits? Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Chicken flavoured biscuits? Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Yeah, that was my thought, LOL -

DD told me last week she had a mini chocolate bar for snack so I did email the teacher. I am hoping she is confused. She called a granola bar a chocolate bar this weekend while shopping because it had chocolate chips and I said is that what she ate at school and she said no. So I figured I would just try anf get some feedback from the teacher. She also told me she she had apples, bananas, jelly beans and cookies so she is not focusing on all bad food but there seems to be some. Hoping the teacher can shed some light on what is actually being shared and I am hoping DD is confused. She has never had jelly beans before so it's odd she said that.
post #12 of 18
This is what it says about snack in our handbook:


Families are asked to participate in a rotating schedule for bringing healthy classroom snacks. We request that each student in the 3-6 and 6-9 classes provide snack for their class once every 4-6 weeks (no more than one day per month). We request that each student in the 9-12 class bring snack approximately once per month. The snack must be pre-packaged and unopened. Bringing snack is not a requirement, however it greatly benefits the classroom community as students are provided with healthy nutrition during the morning work period - which aids in the success of their morning. Snack time also provides an opportunity for the students to contribute to their community and to share in practical life activities.

Snack quantities
3-6 classroom: 36 students
6-9 classroom: 36 students
9-12 classroom: 22 students

Snack fee alternative
Those in the 3-6 or 6-9 class who would prefer to have the teacher shop for their snack day may choose to pay a fee of $15.00 for the teacher to bring the snack. Those in the 9-12 class may choose to pay a fee of $10.00. Please pay by check made out to your classroom teacher and write “snacks” with the date you have been scheduled for. We ask that you pay at least a week before your assigned date as the teacher must schedule time to obtain the snack ahead of time.

Please follow these healthy snack guidelines when bringing snack for your child's class:

A store packaged pre-cut FRESH (not canned or dried) fruit or vegetable snack. Whole fruit may be sent as long as long as there is enough for each child to have their own whole piece of fruit.
In addition to the fresh fruit or vegetable item please consider providing a protein and/or whole grain item to complement the fresh fruit/vegetable. If the item is made with whole grains, at least one of the ingredients will have the word "whole" next to the type of grain and the majority of the time the package will state that it is made with whole grains. ALL optional itmes must have 3 grams or less of sugar per serving.
ALL FOOD MUST BE STORE PACKAGED. Items that do not meet the guidelines above will not be returned.
The following lists are by no means comprehensive; they are provided to give you an idea of the types of foods that we recommend.

Apple Slices
Green beans
Celery sticks
Peppers: green, red, yellow, orange
Tomatoes: grape or cherry (6-9 and 9-12 class only)
Grapes (6-9 and 9-12 class only)

Cheese cubes
Cheese sticks
Wheat Thins
Whole wheat bagels with cream cheese
Multi-grain Ritz crackers
Vegetable Dip
Turkey Slices

Peanuts & other nuts: VERY IMPORTANT

Because some children have potentially dangerous allergies to peanuts and other nuts, do not bring any foods for snack containing peanuts or peanut byproducts (such as peanut oil), or foods that may contain peanuts or any other types of nuts. Labels on processed foods are generally very explicit about the inclusion of peanuts and nuts.
post #13 of 18
That is very similar to our school's list, but we are supposed to bring everything whole. Washing and cutting it up is part of the practical life lessons.
post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
That is very similar to our school's list, but we are supposed to bring everything whole. Washing and cutting it up is part of the practical life lessons.
If whole items are sent, the kids do prepare them as you mentioned. But there has to one whole piece sent per kid. This is because of germies and not wanting to share those. Last year we could send stuff that wasn't prepackaged or we could cut up fruit at home. That rule has been changed, though. It's hard to come up with interesting and healthy prepackaged snacks!
post #15 of 18
At ds's school for next year, they do the cutting with the kids (who wash their hands and such beforehand) and then the slices are put in containers/on plates. Kids wash their hands and then go pick up the designanted amount they can have for snack and go eat. So no need for one per person.
post #16 of 18
At C.'s school the teachers provide a grocery list for the parents on their particular day (once a week). The rotation has approx. 2/3s of the parents buying once in a school year and a couple parents having to buy twice in a school year.

The list from my childs cottage is quite varied, provides wholesome food and allows the child to try different things and prepare the snack.
Apples, oranges (for juicing), bananas, carrots, grapes walnuts, pistachios, hummus, whole wheat bagels, crackers, block of cheese, flowers, vinegar, water jugs.

All stuff is bought whole and the kids (mostly) prepare the snacks. The oranges and juicing, the apples and slicing, the walnuts and nutcracking, the flowers for cutting ... are all part of their "work". (I suspect they would eliminate the nuts if a child was allergic)

His school seems to do it quite similiar to the above poster.

Maybe you can discuss with the teachers to alter their snack routine
post #17 of 18
Our previous M school had the children bring in snack one time during the whole year. I think we spent $75 during our week. That school had 60 kids.

They had a pre-printed list and when it was your week, particular items would be checked off for you to bring. So the list might have had 30 items but you'd just bring in the 12 of them. Flowers, hand sanitizer and tissues were on the list too.

Our current school provides snack, but parents can bring in snacks for the classroom. Because of the way our previous school was, I bring in about a week's worth of snacks. : (The teacher never complains, lol.) Some families bring in ethnic foods, so DD has been introduced to different foods.

For their birthday celebrations, the children often bring in snacks like cookies or cupcakes to share. We sent in clementines since they were just hitting the stores and thought it would be a different fruit for the kids.
post #18 of 18
I had serious issues with the snacks my son was getting when he was in preschool and kindergarten. Now that he's in first grade, I send in his snack with him -- they only have class snacks for birthdays and such. But, now, his brother is in preschool, in the same class the first one was in.

It took a lot for me, but I finally decided that the few bites of a snack he gets at school will be fine. I make sure to pack food that falls under MY definition of "healthy" for the rest of the day. I figure that I'm in control of probably about 90% of his food (breakfast, lunch, after school snack, and dinner). That other 10% can be whatever they wish to serve as snack. The social aspect of snacks at school seemed way too important to me to make him sit at a separate table, just so he would get the snack I send with him.

I also got the bright idea to feed him breakfast, THEN, to give him another snack (usually a piece of fruit) to eat as soon as he gets to school. This will do two things: ensure that more of the calories he's eating are coming from healthy foods, and, possibly reduce his hunger when the class snacks are served.

If there are other ways around the unhealthy snacks, without having to separate your child from his/her friends, I would try those!
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