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Daily Snacks Given By Preschool - Mostly Treats?

Discussion in 'Toddlers' started by startinganew, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Hi All,
    I just started looking out for a preschool for my kid. The few places I have checked out require us to send lunch but they provide their own snacks. However the snack options included treats everyday (both morning and afternoon snack): graham crackers, fruit loops, life cereal, sweetened yogurt, etc along with fruits.

    Usual snacks at our home are fresh fruits/dry fruits, nuts, snacking veggies (cucumber, cherry tomatoes), cheese occasionally - so I was really surprised that most schools seemed to think it's ok to snack on these treats on a daily basis. One school said they will provide milk and juice for lunch to accompany what they take from home. Store-bought juices are also a treat at our place - irrespective of organic/not-from-concetrate/etc. We usually resort to it only when we are on the go and dont have other options. Our LO can happily push meal time by 2 hours with single juice serving.

    On a tour to one of the really good schools in our neighborhood, I noticed that they said fruit and life-cereal on the menu. The teacher went around the snack table and served the kids on a piece of tissue paper (!) - a single diced piece of fruit and a big mound of cereal dumped next to fruit. Ofcourse with the sugary sweetness of the cereal, one can guess that the little kids will eat the cereal and leave behind the fruit (which is probably why the teachers serve them such a tiny piece of fruit anyway)?

    My question: Is this the normal type of snacks served in preschools in the US ? Or do I just keep looking for a better preschool? I thought schools that put in so much planning in to curriculum would choose better snacks.

    One of the schools said we can send our own snacks - however I would hesitate to do that given that all kids were eating their snacks. It seems purely-mean to get my kid to watch everyone eating a treat and have them munch on cucumber. Wouldn't want to do that to LO :) However, if the policy was everyone bring their own snacks - that would be perfect for us.
     
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  2. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    I am not sure which part of the US you are in. My kids schools were and are overly focused on healthy foods. No sugar at all. So I am a little surprised.
    I think you should look for other preschools. This is not the norm in my experience, but I could be wrong.
     
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  3. hermitcrab

    hermitcrab Gold IL'ite

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    Many chain day cares serve the kinda food you mentioned.
    Please feel bad about sending your own snacks. You will do a great service to your child by doing that, don’t feel bad.
    Montessori kind of schools have no juice no junk food policy.
    Best to send your own snack, for now. All tht sugar + flour +dyes etc can mess
    up lil kids system. Shop your kid often and talk about the things you buy and why. Also what things you don’t buy and why
     
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  4. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks a lot @SinghManisha and @hermitcrab for taking time to reply. After visiting three different style of pre-schools (1. traditional private school, 2. non-chain small neighborhood montessori school, 3. non-montessori play-based school) all with very similar menu - I started questioning myself - whether I was being the paranoid parent. Good to hear both your re-assurance that no-sugar is a reasonable thing to look for. I am totally OK with treats for celebrations in schools but just not as part of regular menu.
     
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  5. hermitcrab

    hermitcrab Gold IL'ite

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    Please don't feel bad, at all, in asking for a healthier option (as per you).
    Also, you can pack food any time, don't feel bad there, either.
    But packing food is additional food, sometimes, better to look is they have the option that you like. Also, kids eventually gravitate towards mother's choice and not what the outside world has to say
     
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  6. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Any thing a parent wants is a reasonable thing to look for. What matters is whether that is available in the daycares in the area, and if a daycare has that are its other points OK.

    In the 6-8 daycares/preschools I visited, and the 4 that I ended up using, the snacks given out were goldfish, cheez-its, graham crackers, Barnum's animal crackers, plain cheerios, honey cheerios. Not-from-concentrate juice was poured out into really tiny paper cups, and no more than 2 servings.

    What I was particular about was the preschool's toilet arrangement. The first time I visited a preschool, I was aghast to see a child done with toilet and walking towards the class with her pants undone as mom/dad had her wear pants with buttons that needed adult help. As my eye retraced the path to the restroom area, my aghast-ness went up by many notches.. as I saw that the restroom area was basically an open area with 8 kiddie size potties and 8 low sinks. One daycare had partitions between the potties, but no cover in the front between the line of potties and the sinks with mirrors. The restroom area's floor was tiled and the classroom and lunch/nap area had office kind of carpet. Children went to the restroom area wearing shoes, walked back into sleeping area with shoes, took off shoes and lay down in the sleeping bags on the 2'x4' nap mat. Most of the sleeping bag/blanket on the floor on which they walk with shoes that have been to the bathroom.

    I know toddlers need help or supervision from one adult when using the potty, but, somehow the idea that other kids and the adults helping other kids could also see my kid using the potty was unsettling. For that matter, even any parents coming in to the cabinets area to pick up child's sleeping bag or art work had a direct line of sight to the restroom area.

    Daycare was optional at that time, and child napping there was even more optional. But the difference in cost for half-day vs full day was less, and my kid wanted to spend all day there, so I opted for 3 full days. Kid got a detailed bath each evening, and the sleeping bag etc were washed each weekend in the hottest setting of the washer. Was I paranoid? Yes, I was. : )
     
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  7. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Till an age they will go by mother's choice. After that, it is an uphill battle for anything that parent wants to do a little differently than is the norm in the area.

    For the no-sugar thing, once they start going to school, they will see other kids having hot-lunch (bought lunch) or bringing juice from home daily, and will ask mom why they cannot have it. If they are told the real reason (not healthy, junk food, cavities..) they might go and tell that to other kids. The other kid's feelings will get hurt and complaint will go to teacher that child A commented on child B's food/drink. Teacher will send home a nasty-but-nice note or email "Dear Parent, your child means well, but was not accepting/inclusive of the food/drink being eaten by classmate."
     
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  8. hermitcrab

    hermitcrab Gold IL'ite

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    Kids when young, go by parents choice. During teenage years, and beyond that for a decade or so, they try to establish their own identity. But after that, they always come back- to what parents taught/ ate.
     
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  9. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Oh, @Rihana! Thank you for sharing your stories. I too can't believe what I have seen in the last two weeks. The open potties are just a few feet (<5 feet) away from children sitting in front of their teachers and trying to learn/play/paint without any partitions (!!). All restrooms are shared. One school had a half-door and one had a full door. Many of the class rooms are dark and mostly artificially lighted - and just don't seem to be meant for children to spend a significant part of their days. I live in a big city with a pretty high cost of living - despite this, the options are dreary.

    I do know that I went to a school where I just wouldn't use the toilets (for how dirty they were) - but I still loved my school, and teachers and friends and had a really wonderful experience. So I know kids are resilient and will happily survive it. But it is still so hard to make such a sub-par choice for one's child.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  10. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks, @hermitcrab. I will definitely be packing lunch. I am more than eager to pack snacks too. :-D However, I feel I can only recommend my kid to eat what I pack but do not want not force my kid to refuse what they are providing at the preschool. Any tips on handling this? Currently I am calling junk food/unhealthy food "treats" - and we will offer it depending on the circumstances once/twice a week and during outings or celebrations. I don't want negative associations with food by calling them unhealthy/junk food. Any perspectives or tips on how you handle this?

    Found another place today where at least a couple of times a week they have some veggies served as snacks. But the menu seems to always be a mixed-bag. Tortilla chips has now been added to my list "cons" of my pros/cons of a preschool list. :-D
     
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