Thursday, November 13, 2008

from the mountains ... to the fairies

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was a bit concerned with the amount of sugar our children are consuming at school. It really troubles me that the school allows - or worse yet, encourages parents to bring donuts and cupcakes and candy to pass around to all the children for birthdays.

And then there was Halloween. I couldn't believe the amount of candy our children came home with from their classmates. More even than they have collected in their entire lifetimes of trick or treating. I'm not over the top, I'm all about moderation. I'm not completely opposed to candy. But I don't think it is something that should be consumed daily.

(Unless you are a 37-year old mother of four that has established very good brushing habits.)

Although I did allow each child to have a few pieces of candy from their Halloween stash, I ate all the chocolate threw everything else out within a matter of days. Because they don't need it and I don't want it in the house.

We've discussed our concerns with various teachers and they have told us that they place goody bags in the child's lunch boxes, so if we don't want them, we can toss them in the trash. When we spoke with the Director, she said that she didn't want to offend the parents that want to bring treats for their child's class.

Which to me? It seems easy enough to tell all the parents that establishing good nutrition is important so if they want to send snacks to school, some options for healthy choices include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and a dip.

What preschooler doesn't love raw vegetables and bleu cheese?


(Oh, I'm laughing. Last night I couldn't even bribe our children to take a single bite of chicken pot pie in exchange for birthday cake.)

The Director further said that if we don't want our children to eat something, we should tell them not to eat it.

Oh, But Of Course! Why Didn't I Think of That?!


Please, come forth those who parent four-year-olds and tell me how you convince your child not to eat a candy bar? Because as of yet, I still cannot convince my children to not pick up and lick an old lollipop from the parking lot of the grocery store.

Since we've begun sending our children to school full-time, they are provided a snack after their nap. When I have arrived at school early last week (and again yesterday) and peeked my head in to their classrooms, I have been surprised - make it shocked - to see that the "snack" they are feeding to our children include Oreo cookies, brownies and Country Time lemonade.

GAH!

I don't feed them that junk at home, I don't want them to eat it at school!

Suffice to say, I'm very disappointed that the school isn't taking the initiative to offer healthy choices for the children. And although I really shouldn't be, (because I am their mother after all), I'm feeling rather timid about going back to the school and AGAIN talking to the Director about my concerns and expectations.

My mother suggested that I tell the school that I will pack their snacks and they should only feed the children what I pack for them. And although this is one good solution, I'm bothered that this is even an issue in the first place.

I'm also bothered that every day the children come home from school with their shoes on the wrong feet. Because the teacher's don't notice and/or help them following nap time?

And when I did a breakdown of their day, it really seems that they are only engaged in the "Montessori" program for two hours a day. If that.

They are dropped off at 9:00 AM. They play until 9:20. They have activities until approximately 11:15. They have lunch until 11:30. They play outside from 11:30 until 12:30. They wash their hands, go potty and nap from approximately 1:00 until 2:00. They wake up, go potty, have a snack and are dismissed at 2:45.

We're trying to figure out what to do. I miss the kids during the day and I feel like they are in glorified child care. Every night it seems Charlie and I are asking ourselves why are we spending a fortune on preschool? And then we remember. They are teaching our children how to remove dishes from the table.

And sing.



Although the jury is still out on whether or not they'll be returning to Montessori in January.

43 comments:

  1. What happened to the ever popular goldfish and cheerios? I would definately talk to the school about the Oreo cookies...that should only be for a party, I would think.

    My son's school only does goldfish or crackers for snack and kids bring their own drinks. If they drink their entire cup, then they get a nice refreshing glass of water.

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  2. I'm with you on the snack that the school provides. They SHOULD be sticking to a healthy menu if they are providing the snacks every day. However, I think them having sweets for holidays and kids' birthdays is reasonable. It's not a daily event.

    As for the Montessori environment, I'm not sure they'd get that much more instruction from a regular preschool, nor do I think they should at that age. I doubt you'd be doing addition instruction yourself if you homeschooled at this age, either, but your rates are a lot cheaper. :)

    As for their shoes? Draw a fish in each shoe, pointing towards each other, so that when they orient them on the right foot, the fish are "kissing". This helped my daughter get them on the right feet.

    There's your weekly allotment of a$$vice. :)

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  3. i had all kinds of advice about the snacks, but the video made me laugh so hard that i forgot what i was gonna say.

    your kids are a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.

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  4. Wow- You are making me feel so much better about the fact that our local Montessori school had a FOUR YEAR waiting list when we were looking at preschools (three months before we wanted our oldest to start).

    It is hard to get kids to choose healthy snacks. Right now I'm trying to make my kids understand the difference between a "snack" and a "treat"... I have been letting them have one small piece of Halloween candy after dinner as a treat, snacks have to be of a healthier variety. It seems to be working; my 4 year old has been asking for apples, or carrots, lately during snack time.

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  5. Go with your gut, Jenna. You already know your decision.

    -Debbie

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  6. In junior kindergarten last year my daughter seemed to have a "special treat" ALL THE TIME. From the music teacher giving them a smartie for behaving nicely to kid's parents bringing in a tray of cupcakes for their birthday or every time there was a holiday (halloween, valentine's day and OMG Christmas!!!). It seemed like she was always getting cookies and cupcakes and candy. And I am really not super strict about sugar, but even to me it began to be too much.

    This year my daughter is in kindergarten at a different school which has a no food party policy which means if it's your kid's birthday and you want to give a treat to the class it has to be non-edible (stickers, pencils, etc.). And I LOVE IT. For one thing she's not getting a lot of sugar at school. For another thing, I get to be the hero when I give her a treat every so often instead of feeling guilty because she already gets so many.

    If I were you I'd be pushing for a) healthier snacks and b) a no-food-party-policy. Parents say a treat once in a while isn't a big deal but with so many kids in one class there seems to be a birthday or holiday every single week. I never thought I'd be so quickly won over on this policy but it's awesome.

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  7. (Delurking) I love it! The video is AWESOME!

    As far as the "sugar" snacks go, I too think there is far too much sugarry type food/drink provided at daycare/preschool. Everytime there is a party of some sort and there is a sign up sheet I either opt for juice (apple juice usually), no red juice or sugar free jello.

    My kids 4th birthday is Monday (mine is the 18th)and I just decided (again) that I am not going to succomb to the pressure of cupcakes and goody bags for school. Plus I really cannot afford it. I guess I am just putting that whole thing off as long as I can.

    Christi (North San Diego County)

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  8. Oh, happy belated birthday to Charlie!

    Christi
    North San Diego County

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  9. I tend to be a bit more relaxed about snacks, but not as relaxed as your school!

    For us, each meal is served after the fruit is eaten. THEN they get the meal part.

    For snack, they can have crackers, goldfish, pretzels, etc.

    WITH WATER, MILK, or OJ.

    Country time lemonade? NO WAY. I do let them have the flavored water AS A TREAT. I would probably go for the oreos as a treat, not a snack.

    Unfortunately, I think your kids are old enough to be miserable if everyone gets Oreos and they get fruit. Our preschool, which is a local one not Montesorri does snack like crackers, fish, yogurt, cheese and water only. Unless it is a birthday.

    I would try and push for slightly better snacks if the lunches are healthy enough and actual juice or water to drink. flavored water (flavored w/a hint of juice) even. But not just junk liquids.

    I might not stick w/this particular school because it seems expensive for something you don't love, but I still they really need the schooling - and the idea of them being in their own classes sounds wonderful to me.

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  10. Go with your gut -- look for an NAEYC accredited school and you should be good.

    Also, schools are supposed to provide a snack menu for the parents to see. It is a snack that they have planned aside from sugary/b-day stuff. There are healthy guidelines (at least I thought so).

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  11. that video is HYSTERICAL!!! How adorable. We have 7 nieces and one of them is named Julia. JJ is her nickname. She insists that the alphabet goes, A, B, C, D, E, F G, H, I, JJ, menamenopee.

    That being said--The 3 kids we are closest to and watch regularly drink vitamain water, water, or chocolate juice (milk if you are over the age of 6 and know what we are talking about). Aunt Kwissin and UncaPat's house [my house] is the only place you can get things like chewies (skittles), oreos, or a SIP of soda. We don't have kids and they know that sleepovers and days here is a treat in "the city".

    I would be outraged at a school that provides this as nutrition. I would get mad and get to that school. You should not be paying for a program doing a disservice to your family!

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  12. Hmmm.... interesting. The Province of Ontario dictates what children are allowed to have as snacks at preschool.

    Eg. Week 1 Mon/Tue Whole grain and Vegetable, Wed/Thurs Grain, Dairy and Fruit, Friday Grain, vegetable.

    Week 2 has the extra day of Grain, Dairy and Fruit and the days are changed.
    But you get the point. NO JUNK FOOD at all.
    One of my twins has a peanut allergy, so I have to pack his snack everyday. He doesn't care that he doesn't eat what everyone else does.... At that age (he's only 3) they don't notice things like that. At 4, they probably would put up a fuss.

    I would think a program like Montessori would be big on nutritious stuff....

    Sorry to ramble. I agree with you.

    K

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  13. Yeah, the whole "other parents who feed their kids junk" thing is right up there with me not wanting my 5-year-old son to play with toy guns or watch inappropriately mature and violent movies ... which apparently makes me a completely unreasonable oddball.

    *sigh*

    I can definitely see the attraction of living in the woods somewhere and not exposing your children to the rest of the population.

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  14. De-lurking here to express my shock over a school that justifies high tuition costs with claims of superior education and then turns around and serves oreos and fake lemonade to these unsuspecting children FULLY knowing how sugar and processed foods interact with their budding metabolisms ... how can they expect so much from the children when the fuel they provide them is so detrimental?!

    You are right to be angry and outraged. If you decide to continue sending them there, I agree with your mom ... pack their snacks and set up some demands. Those babies will thank you in the long run!

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  15. I'm also in Ontario. Our free infant to preschool programs across the province (parents stay) offer free snacks all the time...we've had ww bagels with cream cheese, ww cinnamon raisin bagels toasted with butter, cut up apples and oranges, cheerios with milk in little bowls, cheese, crackers and grapes...it's not that hard people!! What are they thinking?!

    I would be mad. In fact I was mad at our older kids private Christian school when I drove up on Track and Field Day and saw a candy stand, and kids with four candy necklaces, a pop and sucking lollipops walking around. Let me tell you I spoke to parents and the principal ...things got changed pretty quick for the next year. It just didn't make sense to have a day of fitness and all that stuff for them to buy!

    Have you ever looked into a private CSI School? Ours is interdenominational and parent run. Our Junior Kindergarten teacher and program are amazing. Our school starts at age four and the students have way more structured learning time than it sounds like you are getting for your money. There are some with full time preschool too (age 3).

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  16. Rebecca in RHR11/13/08, 10:34 PM

    I'm teaching at a public elem. school in your part of town, and two years ago we started a new policy: NO candy/sweets/desserts allowed for any celebration, be it a birthday, or a holiday. Our reason: allergies, known and unknown! Parents have been very receptive and supportive-if they want to send a goody bag for their child's birthday, they're full of stickers and pencils and fun little games-and the kids don't mind either! Your preschool needs to change their policy. Maybe they'd be willing to survey their families? I bet there are lots more parents that feel just as you do.

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  17. That is just rediculous!
    A friend of mine was told to stop bringing her own (healthy, home cooked) meals to daycare for her baby because she needed to eat the food provided by the daycare because it was 'healthier.' My friend didn't understand why the breaded, processed chicken nuggets provided by the daycare was considered "healthier" than the unbreaded chicken breast cut into pieces that she was providing for her child (in addition to servings of fruits and veggies). I guess I don't understand the 'health standards' of some of these childcare places. And speaking of child care, I would have to agree that it sounds more like your kids are going to an EXPENSIVE daycare rather than montessori, I think my one year old gets as much or more education time at daycare and she only goes half days.

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  18. I agree that you should --GO WITH YOUR GUT. I know at our Mont school, they have structured learning, and quite reading, and play time, and music class and science class etc.
    I have not been able to download the video.
    MOM

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  19. dude, seriously - if you are PAYING for it, they should NOT have a problem with you asking for them to provide healthy snacks.

    I can see the birthday exception, but that's it. Don't be TIMID! DO IT! And you're right - while you *could* pack a snack for them, you shouldn't have to. Again, PAYING for it. It's not public school.

    Is it awful that my 3 year old has been in preschool (Montessori also) since September and I have no clue what they do? I drop him off at the gate and pick him up at the gate (they maintain that it's easier for the children and I can understand that), but I am not too worried about it? Because he's kinder, more polite and actually gentle and loving with his little brother. I figure that they HAVE to be doing SOMETHING right.

    Anyway - maybe you can find another Montessori program? I read a blog from a girl that teaches preschool and I KNOW that all of them aren't like this. I think that most of them engage the kids for the most part.

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  20. Hey Jenn ~

    I looked into Montesorri too & then decided that I was really happy with my private home care "nanny". She is Waldorf (sp?) based & into organic foods, experiential play & natural learning. We love it!

    She was worried because we weren't buying organic milk ~ we've switched ~ but my ds's favorite snack is brocolli??? Who knew. I'd be worried about all the sweets at school~ there's something wrong with not encouraging a healthy eating routine.

    LOVED the video! So fun to see the kiddos! T

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  21. OMG! I would FREAK OUT if they were giving my kids that crap. Seriously, you need to go put your foot down. Do you talk to the other parents? See, I start whole rebellions in the Tot Lot. I get a gang on my side and then we confront and overwhelm. That's my new motto.

    I can see your concern for paying all that money to have playtime and nap. Uhm, that's like free at home!!!

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  22. I'll tell you one more thing, we have nut, soy, dairy, and gluten allergies in my kids class, so they often have plain old carrots for a snack. I would recommend your kids suddenly DEVELOPING the inability to digest these four ingredients and I assure you, the crap will disapper.

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  23. Okay, I'm going for a record on number of comments in a day. But Charlie sitting at the kiddie table for his birthday is freaking HYSTERICAL.

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  24. Seriously I am shocked. I've been following your blog for awhile so I got the idea that it's a pretty expensive school. I didn't realize how cheap our preschool is when I went preschool shopping, I picked them because they allowed kids in diapers! lol. Only later did I realize it was the cheapest preschool in the area..And guess what, they are AMAZING! The kids are engaged and loved! Parents bring in the snacks by taking turns but the teachers provided a list of healthy suggestions like whole fruits, wheat crackers, juices, etc. For Halloween the teachers gave out pencils and pretzels. I was thrilled to pieces over that! I cannot believe that your Montessori school would allow Oreos as a snack! Oreos are not montessori! lol.

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  25. LOL, a four year old refrain from eating sweets while all her/his classmates sit there eating them in front of him/her?? I've had a few four year olds. None of them have had that sort of maturity (hell, their mom struggles with *that* sort of maturity). My youngest (4) will eat chewing gum she finds on the ground. Ewww. But that's not the worst. I once had to fish goose sh*t out of her mouth, which she found on the ground and thought was chewing gum!

    As to the issues of sweets in school, I am quite surprised. I live in Germany, so my experience has only been with our own schools and Kiga (german preschool, five days a week). The kids do bring some sweets home from a party or from a teacher, however, all the schools/Kiga I've ever heard of here have rules about what kids are allowed to bring for snacks. No sweets, no sugary jogurts, no white bread and no juice. School and Kiga only allows water (still or fizzy, provided at school/Kiga). We have "healthy breakfast week" were the kids have wonderful breakfasts of fresh fruits, veg, whole grain breads, müsli, dips, etc. Parent volunteers help with those and we eat better breakfasts there than we do at home! The kids have afternoon snack time which is always comprised of a plates of various cut of fruit and veg and the kids and teachers often cook in both school in and Kiga. The kids bring home great recipes. The emphasis in our schools and Kiga has always been on nutrition. Even in their playgroups (for the wee littles) and the mother/child playgroups. There are *always* rules about what is allowed and what not.

    Sorry for the long diatribe, but I really don't understand your preschool's attitude towards nutrition and have (naively) assumed that all institutions for children have finally, in this day and age, recognized the importance of good nutrition and try to instill it in their kids. Here, it's simply the way things are done. Perhaps that's why I can't understand your preschool's shoulder shrug and clueless responses to the subject.

    One thought....Does your preschool have some sort of parent/teacher association (not sure if that's the right term, I'm not familiar with it in English)? This would be the place to start with trying to make a change. Though, if the kids leave in January, it's probably not worth the bother.

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  26. Jenn- I came over after your comment on my recent post. I am SHOCKED! Our Montessori school does not allow any chocolate whatsoever and Halloween treats were all non-candy. Even at birthdays cupcakes with MINIMAL frosting are allowed.
    They serve only milk and provde fruit and grain snacks. Furthermore, they police our lunch boxes and we get notes sent home if it is not nutritious. I really assumed that was the Montessori way.

    There are actually probably USDA rules for what they can serve in a preschool/daycare environment.I will ask today.

    I do not blame you for being very disappointed that your concerns are not being heard.

    As for the schedule, We have 'class' from 8:30-11 (This includes two line times and 'work')Then recess, lunch and rest. I subbed the other day (AGH!) and it is actually A LOT of instruction time for their age.

    I am so sorry your experience has been soured by this, but I am in your corner. It sounds a little out of control.

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  27. Jen it is unbelievable what that school calls "snack". When I taught 10 yrs ago we had snack daily and it was a healthy snack. The children were exposed to healthy food that some had never been exposed to, and guess what? they loved it. My favorite were the days they had "little white and green trees". Do they not understand that this is the foundation for your children's future? I would confront administration again, and I would make it clear that you intend to pull them out if they do not conform. Maybe they would see you are serious then. These are your children, your priority, these are eating habits for life. Now is the time to get it right. Don't be timid, just go with your gut...you know what is right. I do think I would be looking for an alternative school, is that a possibility? If not an alternative school what about a nanny to come in to the home. I would look for a retired school teacher that would like to work 4 hours a day. Their experience would be priceless and probably would not cost more than what you are paying now. You could convert the garage into school.
    The video was great, love the way William kept trying to quiet his sister. And those fairies... priceless! Then to top it off the way he came in to get his cake. LOVED IT! Your children are precious.
    Kathy

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  28. I would DEFINITELY look into another preschool! Even another Montessori, because not all Montessori's are like that. My youngest went to one her in East County, and I would help out at lunch, and see their snacks after nap and the only time they offered cupcakes and chocolate was when a child had a birthday party and would bring them in for a special occasion. In fact, they specifically ask that the children NOT bring in chocolate or other sweets in their lunch and if they did, they would tell the kids that they couldn't eat it and had to save it for AFTER school.

    The Montessori my youngest went to also has a compost garden, and they would have milk jugs in the center of the tables for the kids to put their food scraps in so they could put it in the compost bin later.

    Let me know if you would like the name and number of this school (don't know how close it is to you though, but maybe they could refer a better one close to you)
    (tinachip@yahoo.com)

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  29. I cannot believe that other parents would want their kids eating junk at school, can't they cut up an apple or something, kids will at least typically eat fruit. Ifyou keep them there maybe you could propose a take home note to the parents letting them know your concerns or maybe enlighten them on what kind of snacks there kids are eating and mostly everyone would agree on a change, or not. Good Luck

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  30. The shoe thing (IMO) isn't worth thinking about twice- but the snack thing- I agree with the other comments.
    Way cute video.

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  31. BEcause any school can call iteslf Montessori and put a pink tower in the corner it doesn't mean they are following best practice. From what you say there are 2 things they are doing badly.1. The food. You are absolutley right, the principal was pretty rude and to not have a healthy snack policy goes against Montessori Philosophy. She was absolutely insistant that children should have only nutritious food. If you consider a 3 year old only needs around 500 calories a day and then think how many are in that junk they are filling them up with empty calories that will take the place of nutritious food because I can't think of many 3/4 year olds that eat a meal when they are full.2. You are right to be concerned about the lack of learnong time. A true Montessori school gives the children 3 hours unbroken work cycle. The children only have fun, engaging things to choose from but they are working because they are "constructing" themselves as they work. We often feel sad that we have to stop for lunch at 12 even though they've been working all morning because they are so busy and interested inwhat they are doing.I should ask around and find out if other parents have similar concerns but haven't stuck their heads over the parapet. Some people aren't as brave as you. If they don't care then I would look around for a nicer setting. Although I am a Montessorian I would say go with your gut and if there is somewhere you feel happier with go for that. Just remember that homeschooling is hard because you don't get a break. Also you won't have so much opportunity to have 1-1 time with the trips.Sorry for rambling for so long. Good luck

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  32. Wait... wait... wait... didn't YOU take donuts to school when it was the kids turn for their party??

    Really... it's a snack... not worth stressing about. Especially if they are eating a good lunch.

    HOWEVER, if it is the entire program you are unhappy with perhaps you should try to find something closer to home. My son goes to daycare, but he spends most of his day either playing or doing crafts. When he gets to be 4 he will basically be in a preschool setting all day.

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  33. Oh I totally agree with you on the sugary snacks. Ick. It's bad enough that I'm a sugar addict. The last thing I want is for my kids to pick up the habit which is why I hide in the closet and eat my candy!

    When I was a second grade teacher, we encouraged the kids to donate a book to our class library on their birthday instead of bringing a snack. The kids would be so excited to bring in a copy of their favorite books. We'd put a very special sticker in the front with their name and the date they donated the book. I loved listening to the kids get all excited when they found a book donated by a former student that they knew. It was great. No sugar and I ended up with a great assortment of books. Since all the primary grades encouraged the book donation, the parents were very used to the idea. We still got a few snacks, but not on a weekly basis!

    Definitely the school should be encouraging healthy snacks. At my old school, it's written right in the student/parent handbook with a list of suggested snacks.

    Good luck with that!

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  34. One of the many things I looked for in a preschool is what the children would be eating for snack. My daughter goes to a Waldorf school 3 days per week. I pack her lunch but they are given a snack at school. One day is guacamole and crackers. One day is fresh vegetable soup. Another day is quinoa. Everything is made fresh in class. They use fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden at school. For birthdays, the class prepares a home made fruit cake. The children are not to bring sugar or candy to school. Not even for halloween. I know this sounds a bit extreme, but I can't imagine my daughter eating Oreos or even Goldfish cracksrs for a snack. I'm paying big bucks for pre school. They should be taking care of my daughter's nutritional needs by providing a healthy snack. By the way, the children drink water. No juice.

    Sorry to ramble.

    Hugs,
    Tracy

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  35. You are right to be concerned, but the sugar battle is one that you will fight their entire childhood. But, sister, fight it you must! T

    This is why obesity and pediatric diabetes is rampant in our country. If your children get overweight during their childhood, they are DOOMED to a shortened life with health problems and curtailed activities.

    Every day for the next dozen years you need to teach your kids good eating habits. You need to remind (nag) them every day:

    - ONE and no more.

    - It's okay to have a bite and throw the rest away.

    - Cake and cupcakes without the frosting are good.

    - You don't have to eat it at all, no matter what it is.

    - It's okay to NOT eat if you are not hungry.

    - You need to ask yourself every time: "Am I hungry?"

    - You don't need the snack if you aren't hungry.

    - Saying NO to food has nothing to do with being polite. Never be shamed into eating something you don't want or need.

    - You don't need dessert every day.

    - WATER WATER WATER and not juice.

    - Eat the whole fruit and skip the juice entirely--do you know how many apples are in a glass of juice?

    - Fruit rollups ARE NOT FRUIT

    I used to get so irritaged after my kids' sporting events when parents would bring sugary snacks right before mealtime. They don't need the snack, they are going right home to eat lunch!

    There is a huge health issue at stake here. You need to go back to the school and talk to the director again. Too bad if she doesn't like it. Just know that no matter where your kids go to school, it will be an issue.

    - Christina

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  36. As for the birthday treats, at my boys inexpensive preschool through the rec center, treats are not allowed. Instead the birthday child is encouraged to bring in their favorite book for the teacher to read to the class.

    Our family is really lucky in the treat department because neither of my twins has much of a sweet tooth. They ate about two pieces of candy at halloween (they never asked for more). For one it is the extreme that he has refused cake at the last three birthday parties and he hates chocolate. Nevertheless, I personally don't want junk food treated as a treat -- I would never give it as a reward, and I don't want it to be a forbidden food. Instead, I want it to be something we all eat sparingly because it is unhealthy, just the way we treat things like butter....

    In terms of preschool, while Montessori is not for us (a play based preschool is more our style), I send my twins because it helps them learn to interact with others and to interact with each other independently of times when my husband and I are there. My boys attend for fewer hours (9-12 3 days/ week), but I feel they are really learning the social skills that I hope helps prepare them for kindergarten in just under two years. I want them to learn to listen to the teacher and to act appopropriately in a classroom/ playground setting.

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  37. Heather, you are correct. *I* did take donuts to school for the birthday party. And although *I* take blame on contributing to the "bad" food environment, I feel like the school has a BIG responsibility to encourage parents and children to eat healthy, by setting a good example.

    When the school TOLD me to bring donuts to the party, I balked. And then, because I was in a crunch for time, I did exactly as they suggested. I'm not trying to make an excuse for my actions, because it was wrong. But by the time it was time for William's party, I brought cupcakes. Still bad, but not as bad as the requested donuts.

    Part of the expectation in forking out a couple thousand dollars a month on tuition, is that we are placing our children in an environment that is at least as good - if not better - than the environment that we can create at home.

    Since *I* at times struggle with healthy choices, I was actually EXPECTING that this "high quality" school would be able to help establish and foster healthy eating habits in our children. But what they are condoning and promoting is completely unacceptable.

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  38. Oh dear! I have to say you are paying for this school. Do not be timid at all about your concerns, demands, needs, or wants. After all it is what you are paying for. And if it isn't what you want then why pay for it? Yes they are teaching your children those nice things but so could you. It just depends on who you want teaching them that. And hey if you can't handle the stress of it and would rather pay someone to do that then you should get what you want. Either way I've looked at this situation is stressful. One keep them home and be stressed or two pay someone to take care of them and teach them a thing or two and be stressed. There is no end in sight when it comes to stress. Is there? Bottom line is you need to be happy with your choice and if you're not then don't hesitate or wait to change or make a new one. Oh my think about what this next round of holiday will bring...more chocolate and sugar..hehe. I came to a crossroads and my kids were in public school. I pulled mine out and I haven't looked back. I was stressed when they were in and yep let's check...still stressed. But I'm much happier with this decision!

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  39. Love the video!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now where's my cake, cookies and ice cream??? (bring a diet coke, please)
    Love, Marg

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  40. I'm really surprised that your Montessori school allows sweets.

    Both of my children attended Montessori school from age 3 to Grade 3 and they did not allow so much as a jelly bean to cross the threshold.

    For their birthday's the school provided the healthy snack (as always - we were paying enough for this anyway!!) and we were encouraged to chose and donate a book to the school library that was our child's current favourite (we loved the eyewitness series, not sure if they are still out there!). The school would put a bookplate in the front, honouring the birthday child.

    It was also encouraged (expected) that we would bring flower seeds or a small bedding out plant to add to the children's gardens around the school. The birthday child would get to plant it and all children would join in for future care.

    The snacks the school provided were always healthy, fresh veggies and/or fruit slices. The kids drank water. Both of my children have Celiac (wheat and gluten intolerance) so I was thrilled that I did not have to worry about them ingesting something with gluten.

    In true Montessori fashion, each child removed their dish and cup and cleaned off their table top before resuming other activities.

    When I picked them up after a half day and then later when they were full days (lunch was provided, was also sensitive to all food allergies and healthy) I received happy, albeit tired children. No oversugared brats! That wouldn't happen until we moved and switched schools. UGH!

    Now mind you my kids are now 19 and 23 so our experience was a few years back, but if the school is truly following Maria Montessori's ideas it should not be much different! Back then I paid about $400 per month for 4 half days a week and $600 for 5 full days.

    Montessori school was the best investment I ever made. Even thought my kids are in University now they still talk fondly of their early school days at Montessori. I could go on but I'll stop here before I begin to wax poetic.

    Hope you can get them to "change their minds" and stick more to the "program".

    Blondie

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  41. Let them eat treats!! OK. The video is priceless!

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  42. Every Montessori is different, but I have to say that some of the things you describe would be totally off limits at my son's Montessori. At Halloween, we were specifically told not to even pack candy in lunches, much less bring candy to pass out to the other kids. Everyone packs snacks for their kids in their lunches and we are specifically asked not to offer very sugary snacks because it's not good for concentration. Birthdays are fine for bringing treats (since there are only 20 kids in a class, it's usually about twice a month), but we're not supposed to bring anything with frosting due to the mess factor.

    As for the schedule, it does seem light. At my son's Montessori, there are no naps scheduled, and snacks are taken individually or in groups of 2-3 kids. There is outside time and some free time, but not as much as you describe.

    Maybe it's not Montessori that is problematic in this case but *this particular* Montessori? I agree that you're paying a lot of money for something you have every reason not to be completely satisfied with...

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