Many schools are working hard these days to become a Healthy School. They encourage children to make positive choices to maintain a healthy lifestyle. From the air they breath, to the exercise they enjoy, to the food they eat, schools work together to promote better choices.
Some schools offer encouragement to get children walking to school as apposed to coming in the car. Not only is this great for health benefits but for the environment too!
Some schools do lessons teaching children about food groups.
You see all this is very positive and beneficial to the children. I don't think any parent/carer would be unhappy about their child's school having this approach. The message we should instil in the children is everything in moderation.
Children and their parents are still free to make choices, but the question today is - just how far should schools be allowed to promote making healthy choices.....
It appears some schools have taken the Strict Health Police approach and jump to conclusions and make presumptions about what some children are sent to school with in their lunchboxes.
I welcome Melinda Tankard Reist, who tells us about her friend who was the receiver of the note above.
My friend’s 3 year old was sent home with a note about the ‘chocolate slice’ that was put in the lunchbox for dinner. The slice was homemade with love and had been enjoyed during the celebration of her brother birthday. As part of their family tradition, leftovers go to school the next day.
My friend and her husband ironically both have degrees in health science. They have eight lovely children together and their 3 year old is child number 7.
My friend felt devastated when this note came home and was upset that she had broken the rules. She logged into the schools website and had a quick check on the schools policy and discovered she actually didn’t break the rules which specified no ‘processed’ cake, biscuits etc.
Intrusive. The condescending sad face on red (‘Stop!’ ‘Danger!’) paper. Makes the child feel Mommy and Daddy must have done something very wrong to get a sad face from my teacher.
I support healthy eating, I’m into fitness and health for myself and my 4 children. I understand the importance of healthy eating policies. But surely there is a line. I totally get that teachers work hard to carry out school policy, but not all are trained dieticians. I am concerned about where this approach takes us.
I have heard of cupcakes being sent home which had less sugar and calorie content than the approved mueslie bar. I have heard stories of a child who stopped eating any chocolate cake telling her Mom ‘I can’t eat chocolate cake because it will make me fat’.
My biggest concern is where shaming around food takes us. When children see food as’ good’ or ‘bad’ it can set them up for eating disorders. Some eating disorder specialists I work with say messages around obesity are contributing to food anxiety and contributing to disordered eating behaviours in children.
What are your views on the letter?
What would you do if your child was sent home with this letter?