teacher giving candy incentives - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is in first grade. I had trouble last year with the amount of candy handed out by the teacher for holidays, special days, etc. But this year her new teacher gives out candy several times a week for good behavior! My dd came out of school friday with chocolate all over her face, and she said she didn't know how many chocolate covered raisins she had gotten, so I am assuming it was more then a couple.
I spoke with the principal about the candy on holidays last year, and she said there is not much to be done about it because parents bring it in, and it is accepted by everyone else. There have to be some government rules against this sort of thing though, right? I can't find much online except regarding sale of sweets at lunchtime.
Anyone else's dc's do this sort of thing? Does anyone know of any state or national regulations banning this sort of thing?
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#2 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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The PTO of the public school my kids attended worked to change this at the school. The teachers weren't allowed to give candy as rewards, and all holiday treats were provided by the PTO, which meant it was a small, reasonable amount rather than a desk full. There were also no sugary-drinks allowed at the school. (Only milk or water were allowed at lunch time, and 100% juice was considered a treat at a party)

The policy started before our time at the school, so I don't have any idea how hard it was to make it happen or what the process was. It was just at our school, and from what I've read, it was fairly unusual.

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#3 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 03:04 PM
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When this was happening in Kindergarten, I handed the teacher a large bag of coins (mostly pennies) and asked the teacher to give my son a coin as a reward instead of candy.

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#4 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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I supplied stickers all year to one teacher who swore to me that "kids need rewards". Better stickers than Skittles.
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#5 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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CA has had rules against it the past few years. I appreciate the "food as reward" ban particularly because my eldest used to come home with piles of candy in 1st and 2nd grade. The kids don't seem to miss the candy when they are rewarded with 5 extra minutes of recess or a "get out of homework one night" pass, ect. However, I'm annoyed by the harshness against ALL outside food. Our kids can't even have a pizza party end of the school year.... even if it's the only party they have all year. They put a ban on the very occasional treat but then they still serve pizza and corn dogs for lunch every single week. They sell ice cream on Fridays after lunch which I don't mind but it seems a little hypocritical that they can sell ice cream but my kids can't bring cupcakes on their birthday lol.

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#6 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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There aren't rules regarding it where I live but some of our schools have healthy food policies by choice that go above and beyond the districts healthy lunch menus. I don't think giving one chocolate covered raisin, skittle, or m & m a day would annoy me, it is a powerful motivation tool for many kids though I think there are much better ways to manage a classroom that teachers develop as they gain experience, but it sounds like your dd got a lot more than that since it was all over her face. I think you should talk to the teacher about your concern with so much sugar on a daily basis.
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#7 of 19 Old 09-19-2010, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel that teaching children to use food as a reward is a dangerous path to go down, leading to higher risk of obesity and eating disorders. It is also true that rewarding with junk food may be directly related to circuits in the brain associated with addiction. Also, I do have concerns about the health of my dd when she receives a handful of candy at the end of the day when she is hungry and her blood sugar spikes and then falls. That IS dangerous IMO for her health. I feel like with the rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in our country, it shouldn't even be an issue as to whether kids get candy at school.
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#8 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 02:15 AM
 
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Another tactic you can take is sanitation: The kids probably aren't washing their hands before they eat the 'rewards' and they are going to be dribbling it in the classroom. Also, if the teacher is opening packages and giving out individual pieces (like chocolate covered raisins, or even just plain raisins!), she's probably violating food handling protocols.

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#9 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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We have to deal with this too. My son gets jolly ranchers as rewards this year. He even told his teacher he didn't want the candy, he'd be happy with a sticker and the teacher told him he was too old for stickers (he's in 3rd grade). I told him to tell the teacher he was too young for that much candy. DS even commented that he doesn't get it, the teachers always tell them to calm down and quiet down and then they give out all this candy.

I've got to go in and talk to his teacher tomorrow so I'll be watching this thread for ideas.
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#10 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catinthehat View Post
I feel that teaching children to use food as a reward is a dangerous path to go down, leading to higher risk of obesity and eating disorders. It is also true that rewarding with junk food may be directly related to circuits in the brain associated with addiction. Also, I do have concerns about the health of my dd when she receives a handful of candy at the end of the day when she is hungry and her blood sugar spikes and then falls. That IS dangerous IMO for her health. I feel like with the rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in our country, it shouldn't even be an issue as to whether kids get candy at school.
I agree. I think it's a bad habit to start. I have no problem with the candy itself, I just think it builds those brain pathways. (It kind of reminds me of lab rats and rewards)

We have a snackbar that the children can use their lunch money to buy sweets after lunch everyday. I am working to get the school to "lose" it. I don't mind a candy here and there but I do mind them getting into the habit of have dessert everyday after lunch.

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#11 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post
I agree. I think it's a bad habit to start. I have no problem with the candy itself, I just think it builds those brain pathways. (It kind of reminds me of lab rats and rewards)
yes, I really struggle with emotional eating and "I deserve it" eating and I dislike seeing adults train kids in these unhelpful habits.

At the same time, I feel for the teachers. They can't really punish the kids and they have to figure out how to keep them behaving in such a way that learning can take place. With some kids, it's super easy. With other kids, it's nearly impossible. I wouldn't want that job!

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We have a snackbar that the children can use their lunch money to buy sweets after lunch everyday. I am working to get the school to "lose" it. I don't mind a candy here and there but I do mind them getting into the habit of have dessert everyday after lunch.
That was part of our school healthy plan, too. Ice cream was available on ONLY on Fridays and they were pretty small. Lunch account money couldn't be used, it was cash only.

Desserts were only served as part of school lunch on or near holidays (such as a cookie on Valentines day) but there wouldn't be any ice cream that week.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
Our kids can't even have a pizza party end of the school year.... even if it's the only party they have all year. They put a ban on the very occasional treat but then they still serve pizza and corn dogs for lunch every single week.
Yeah... I ran into this my last year of teaching (I'm still working for the district, but in administration). As the ESL teacher to kids who don't eat a lot of "outside" food, particularly fruits and veggies, I wanted to do an integrated vocabulary/math lesson with my first/second graders where we would try foods and chart who liked what, what our favorites were, etc, and then play with and compare the numbers. Mind you, the plan was for me to ORDER MY OWN STINKIN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITH MY OWN STINKIN MONEY and have them shipped in (no such things as kiwis or squash at the local store there, ever).

But... nope. Couldn't do it. The site administrator there (who I mostly adore) interpreted the district's "no food other than what's officially offered by the school" policy very strictly.

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Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
We have to deal with this too. My son gets jolly ranchers as rewards this year. He even told his teacher he didn't want the candy, he'd be happy with a sticker and the teacher told him he was too old for stickers (he's in 3rd grade).
WHAT?! I'm 31 and still love stickers. More than a Jolly Rancher, that's for sure. Now, chocolate... hmm. That's a toss-up. But stickers over Jolly Ranchers any day.

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#13 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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WHAT?! I'm 31 and still love stickers. More than a Jolly Rancher, that's for sure. Now, chocolate... hmm. That's a toss-up. But stickers over Jolly Ranchers any day.
I know right? It may just be me, I'm so not a candy/chocolate person, but the amount of candy they hand out is ridiculous. What's wrong with a pencil or an eraser or something small like that? They wouldn't cost any more than the candy and I know my kids at least would love them.
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#14 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
I know right? It may just be me, I'm so not a candy/chocolate person, but the amount of candy they hand out is ridiculous. What's wrong with a pencil or an eraser or something small like that? They wouldn't cost any more than the candy and I know my kids at least would love them.
Oh gosh, and if they're MECHANICAL pencils?! Be still my office-supply-loving heart.

30-something will work for office supplies, right here.

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#15 of 19 Old 09-20-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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Oh gosh, and if they're MECHANICAL pencils?! Be still my office-supply-loving heart.

30-something will work for office supplies, right here.
That's too funny! Dh won't even go into office supply stores with me anymore.

DS did trade a jolly rancher for a mechanical pencil the other day.
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#16 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
CA has had rules against it the past few years. I appreciate the "food as reward" ban particularly because my eldest used to come home with piles of candy in 1st and 2nd grade. The kids don't seem to miss the candy when they are rewarded with 5 extra minutes of recess or a "get out of homework one night" pass, ect. However, I'm annoyed by the harshness against ALL outside food. Our kids can't even have a pizza party end of the school year.... even if it's the only party they have all year. They put a ban on the very occasional treat but then they still serve pizza and corn dogs for lunch every single week. They sell ice cream on Fridays after lunch which I don't mind but it seems a little hypocritical that they can sell ice cream but my kids can't bring cupcakes on their birthday lol.
Do you happen to have a cite for the rules? A friend is having this same issue at school. They keep giving her diabetic daughter marshmellows in first grade.
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#17 of 19 Old 09-23-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Texas has rules also - for public schools only, I believe. No candies can be given out in class at all. Also no non-nutritional sweets, like birthday cake, cookies, etc.
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#18 of 19 Old 09-29-2010, 03:56 AM
 
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wow i am super shocked to see that this is even happening but then as i read it i remember this started for me in sixth grade. if you raised your hand and got a question right (mainly in vocabulary review) the teacher would toss you a jolly rancher. holy moly - if this happened for my kids, i would have a heart attack. wow i'm getting an education on these boards tonight. i think though from pp's it's not allowed in CA anymore which is good. that's a relief.
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#19 of 19 Old 09-29-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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Our entire K-12 district has a policy of no food rewards, no home made food and a nutritious alternative is supposed to be offered if sweets are brought for a special celebration. HOWEVER, I have seen this policy blatantly ignored in every school and classroom I've seen/visited/heard about. Just like the "no movies/tv/video unless it is educational and linked to current curriculum" is ignored. Look for your district's policy online or ask at the office. Many districts have adopted a health and wellness policy in the last few years in order to comply with the 2004 federal requirements of the Child Nutrition program (gov. funding of school lunches). This was recently re-authorized and may have new requirements. If your district has a policy, you can bring that to your building principal's attention and request compliance.

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