Ok, I normally love our school, but I am getting so frustrated with this one issue.
Basics, we are asked not to pack junk food lunches - no lunchables, canned soup, etc. Also, they don't really want sugary treats/sweets as well. I am fine with all of this, and have been for 4 years.
Every year we have a school carnival. In the past we have always allowed game prizes of all sorts of different things - candy, plastic toys, light sticks, etc. We have also offered for sale food that was normal every day food....
But this year, the person who is self proclaimed in charge of the carnival is changing everything, and the rest of his/her changes will be carried out by next year.
1) Food will only be organic, humanely treated, locally purchased/raised. (phased in between this year and next year)
2) No candy what so ever, game prizes will be a bead and pipe cleaner to make bracelet out of. (happening this year)
3) Drinks sold will only be water (being phased in between this year and next)
4) Eventually there will no longer be cupcakes/cakes/pies, etc sold in the food booth, nor will there be the "baked goods" auction. (being phased in between this year and next year).
I do watch the sugar content of what I give my kids, and try to keep it to a reasonable level.
Are all Montessori schools so like this --- organic only, humanely treated, judge a food based upon a "label" vs its true content...
Sounds well intentioned but a bit extreme, no? DS goes to an AMI school, and though they restrict nuts because of allergies, the only other thing they've said no to were "tos" items, lol, as they called them (so no Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, etc.). Oh, and for birthdays, they don't allow parents to bring in cupcakes with frosting, but without frosting is fine, as are cookies or muffins. And I know they still offer juice for snack time.
My son's preschool is a little bit like this. We don't have a carnival and they served cooked food every day so no regular packed lunches to deal with. However, the kids are going on an excursion next month and I got a *very* detailed list of what to pack in my son's backpack... For lunch, the main restrictions for the packed lunch were nothing sweet and no disposable containers/wrappers, so that part wasn't super rigid. And no requirement about food being organic/humanely treated etc. This would feel quite extreme to me too.
My DS went to a Montessori school for 3 years, and they were like that for lunches, except on Friday they'd have pizza ordered from Dominoes and I found out one day that they were giving the kids marshmellows at the end of the day as treats (I laid into them about that because my kid would come home angry and hyper from the extra sugar...he was 4, he didn't need a daily marshmellow!)
I guess I'm a little different, but I would absolutely love it if our school did this. One of the things I dread about social events is all the junk food.
That said, our school does have some limitations on foods but nothing that extreme that I'm aware of (DS hasn't started yet). Besides food allergy concerns, the only limits on foods I'm aware of are that they ask parents not to bring in sweets for their kids' birthdays (they recommend carrot cake with cream cheese frosting).
That sounds very restrictive to me. At our montessori school, there are all types of eaters. Some lean granola-crunchy, but not the majority, I don't think. We are asked to not pack candy or overly sweet stuff for lunch, but things like animal crackers are fine. I actually sneak some fairly sweet things in because my son is so unhappy with food in general -- so I'll put a couple of yogurt covered pretzels in with his nuts or something along those lines and the teachers have never had a problem with it. Another thing that I put in that really cheers him up about lunch is fritoes (well, I usually get the organic frito-things from trader joe's), and no complaints about that either. On fridays they give the kids who buy hot lunch (this is a fundraising thing) 2 oreos, which I'm not thrilled about. We don't buy the hot lunch, but I feel like I have to have something really junky to put in his box on fridays because I don't want him to feel like the only one without.
The treats they recommend for birthday sharing are healthier than your ubiquitous costco cake, but nothing like what you're talking about -- they suggest stuff like popcorn, homemade banana bread or muffins, or fruit juice popsicles (I bought the expensive ones that were real fruit juice popsicles, but apparently they meant the ones that have sugar added).
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
Our school (AMI) has similar lunch requirements. On school events I can't remember their ever being candy, I do think there was something sweet for sale but it was homemade / organic but I'm having trouble remembering what. Generally the food at events is healthy but not always is it organic/local... I imagine that is our school's ideal as well but it's not restricted to that. I remember a local taco vendor at one event (I think a majority of their food was organic). I personally don't mind the lunch requirements because that's what I'd prefer my children have for lunch anyways. And I like that the school events don't have candy and tries to have healthy foods. But at the same time I'm glad it's not restricted to no sweets at all and just local/organic food. It seems like if those rules were followed it could limit the choices available and add a lot of cost.
I routinely take my daughter to the tiny (90% organic) food co-op every Sunday - the running joke, they know it's closing time on Sunday after we're there. Would I prefer that my daughter eat whole food (preferably local, organic, low glycemic) - definitely - do I mandate it 24X7, no. Would I force it on others, NO!
While I pretty much agree with the eating philosophies in the opening post - I recongnize those as MY CHOICE for MY FAMILY in MY HOME. The rules specified above are pretty extreme (I do it by choice, but heck if I'll have someone else mandate it).
At my daughter's primary - they are encouraged to eat well - no candy (although I sometimes sneak a tiny square of organic dark chocolate), focusing on protein first, etc. - no problems. On Fridays, the primary class has pizza day - not knowing what it would be like, I signed my daughter up first year to figure it all out. She's not thrilled with the pizza, I prefer she not eat it - so we'll decide next year.
Ideally, this representative should have put it to discussion and consensus or vote - honestly, it sounds idealistic, radical and not necessarily practical.
Some initial thoughts:
What if there isn't local, organic food available for that ingredient - I'm in NY, we have a short growing season which necessitates a certain amount of pragmatism.
No candy - ok, but, why not something like fruit or popcorn? Kids are motivated by food...a pipe cleaner bracelet sounds idealistic, might be fun, but does not replace food.
Drinking only water - yes, that's great, but what happened to hormone-free milk, organic fruit juice, etc.
No baked goods - ok, so what do you buy?
I'd appreciate the intent, but would be skeptical about the execution - especially as a quick switch-over. Carnivals are meant to be fun and if you're limited to pipe cleaner bracelets and water.....ummmmmm...
Our school is similar in some regards, but the focus is on all natural, rather than organic. Sure, organic would be nice...but then again, if we get the junk out of hte foods, we've managed to incease health by 95% :) No added sugar items ever, even on birthdays. All fruit popsicles are the standard birthday item for the class. The kids grow organic food in the school garden, and the lunch program is all natural. Water is typically the drink served at functions. I've seen sweets given out at for holiday parties only....valentine's day cupcakes, halloween, easter, etc. Prices/toys at fairs are usually manipulatives of some sort. Really, the kids don't miss it.
We have candy all the time in the house....our halloween candy eventually is thrown out right before valentine's day, and valentines candy typically gets trashed in summer....they just dont eat it since they dont have a craving for it, since they don't have it all the time.
That said, I came on today to ask about this topic in general. DS goes to a school that tries to be Montessori. Supposedly. Fruit juice, crackers, goldfish crackers, & now Popsicles are common snacks. We are nearing the end of him not noticing that he gets different things. There have been a couple times we picked him up & it was obvious he had had something sugary, though they said they had kept him out of the cookies that were out for open house. They have gotten pretty good about not giving him what we don't want him to have now , & we supply alternates as needed. I admit I was surprised about the need to do so but reading this thread it seems to vary depending on the school.
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Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (14).