Our middle child attends a co-op preschool. The awesomeness of these preschools aren’t the goal of this post, but it is worth mentioning while we’re on the topic. If you’re able to participate in a program in your local area, I highly recommend it. Parental involvement and the sense of community your children get is amazing.
As a co-oping parent Matt’s responsible for being a teaching assistance about once a month. He performs a variety of tasks, to include potty assistance, vacuuming and lego building. However, the most important part of Finian getting to be the “special helper” on Matt’s co-op days is the responsibility of bringing snack for the class.
At our school there’s a requirement to bring protein (great!), fruit or vegetable (awesome!) and carb (grain specifically). The past few times Matt co-oped we were a little more loosey goosey with being Paleo and he’d bring gluten-free but not grain-free snacks. This past time, however, we decided we weren’t going to purchase and feed the entire class a food group we don’t believe in. So he and Finian decided they’d bring “green eggs and ham” (it was PJ day) for snack. He also brought applesauce.
I looked at that snack as perfect for a classroom of 2 and 3 year-olds. Our kids, and the friends they have over for play-dates, would go crazy for scrambled eggs, pepperoni and applesauce. Matt said he explained to the teacher that we don’t eat grains and that we were providing the children with a healthful, energy packed snack – and, since applesauce is a carb we felt we were covered. There weren’t any issues until Matt had to walk out of the room to help do something.
When he walked back into the classroom a box of cereal had been pulled out from the cabinet and several children were no longer eating the nutrient dense snack. The teacher shrugged, pointed to a small female and said “she’ll only eat grains.”
We were worried about getting in “trouble” with the school but hadn’t thought about the implications of the children’s interest, mostly because our children always eat what’s put in front of them (hence why it’s important to put good food in front of them). Ultimately, it wasn’t the adults that had a problem but was the children – which is something we didn’t anticipate because it’s just not an option for our kids.
I think the whole scene goes hand-in-hand with the mentality of doing what you can. We provided a snack that supported our beliefs in what real food is and felt good about our choice. That’s the best we can do. That’s the best you can do. It’s a gradual process and not everyone will be on-board, but do the best for you and your famly and be proud of that change.