Earthplace Preschool Policies and Procedures
Together with the parent organization of Earthplace Prechool we have adopted a Food Policy which helps guide our choices of food for snacks and other events.
“As an educational institution and as part of a nature center, when we serve our children food at Earthplace, we strive to model and to support our highest values. In all area of our program, we serve food that contributes to healthy, well-nourished students and is environmentally sustainable. The food our children eat at school is nutritionally rich, organic when possible, and not high in fat, sugar, or salt. Care is taken to make sure food is tasty and child-friendly. Children are encouraged to try new foods at school, as well as to enjoy their more comfortable healthy favorites. Food is also used in our curriculum to teach children about healthy living and protecting the environment, including growing some food in the school’s garden.”
We provide the snack for each class, consisting of two food groups. Snack gives us the opportunity for a variety of learning experiences. For example, the children have whole grain or whole wheat crackers and either a fruit, vegetable, yogurt, or piece of cheese for snack. Trying new foods in a group setting can help children expand the repertoire of foods they eat. We also introduce hummus, salsa (with no sugar added), all-fruit spreads, and a variety of dips for the veggies and fruits. In all of the classes children have water to drink. Children help to prepare the snacks by spreading their own whole-fruit jelly or cream cheese, baking such items as apple crisp or pumpkin bread, and making soups
In the Chickadees the children are working on learning the routine of washing up before snack, sitting with friends to eat, drinking from a cup, and having conversations at the table. Two of the teachers sit with the children in order to model healthy eating habits and to engage children in conversation. At snack time we work with the children to use small cups for the water. We do not use "sippy" cups, as the speech therapists with whom we have consulted have recommended that we help children transition to using cups. They have found that children do not develop the muscles needed for speech if they continue to use sippy cups in the two-year-old year.
In the Robins, Woodpeckers, and Falcons the children are involved in counting the number of crackers, taking their own fruit or vegetables, and pouring their own water. In the Chickadees a teacher sits at each table and guides the children to learn the snack routine. The teacher engages the children in conversation and models healthy eating habits.
In the Hummingbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Falcons the children have snack as a center. In the beginning of the year a teacher does sit with the children to help them to learn the process of washing hands, pouring their own water,and serving themselves. The teachers also model snack as a time for conversing with friends. As the year progresses and the children are able to independently handle snack, there is not always a teacher at the Woodpeckers' snack table.
The children drink water at snack. On special occasions when families want to bring a different drink, we limit it to fruit juice with no sugar added. Milk products that we serve are made from whole milk.
The Snack Calendar is posted on the board by the office and on our calendar website page . If you wish to bring a special snack to share with the class, please let the teachers know beforehand. This helps us in class planning and avoiding conflicts with allergies and birthday celebrations. If your child does have food allergies or intolerances, we require that you send snacks for each day, including other children’s birthdays. You can check the Snack Calendar to bring something similar to the foods we will be serving.
Foods not served at school
Lunch Club Food Update: Previously we had asked that children not bring peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut products to Lunch Club. We are extending that to include tree nut products such as Nutella, other hazelnut products, and almond butter. Sunflower butter and soy nut butter are fine. If you send either of these please label them.
The foods that we do not include in snack are peanut butter, nuts, candy, popcorn, carrots, including “baby”carrots (unless cut lengthwise), hot dogs (unless cut lengthwise), grapes (unless cut in half), raw peas, and hard pretzels.
We do not regularly serve meat for snack. If we did we would be careful to cut it up for the Chickadees so that it was no larger than a 1/2" square. We would also be aware of each child's chewing and swallowing capability.
We do not use “sippy” cups, as we have found that Lunch Club is a safe place for childrento transition to using small cups. Many local speech therapists have advised us to promote using cups at school.
We ask that parents talk with the child’s teacher before bringing in a birthday snack. We can then communicate with the parents of those children who have food allergies or food intolerances, so that they can bring a similar snack for their child that they know is safe to eat.
Birthdays at school - donate a book!
Instead of bringing in goodie bags we ask that families choose a book from our Book Wish List to donate to the class. We also invite families to come in to read the book to the class.
Birthday snacks - healthy and safe choices
In accordance with our food policy we encourage all families to pick healthy alternatives to traditional large cupcakes. For example, small muffins and fruit with yogurt are favorite birthday snacks
To create a safe environment for children with food allergies, we ask that you NOT send birthday snacks and/or holiday party snacks made with items not on our snack list. Items we do not include in snack are: Peanut butter, nuts, candy, popcorn, carrots or "baby" carrots (unless cut in thin strips lengthwise), hot dogs (unless cut lengthwise), grapes (unless cut in half), raw peas, and hard pretzels.
We ask that parents talk with their child's teacher before bringing in a birthday snack. We can then communicate with the parents of children who have food allergies or food intolerances so they can bring a similar snack for their children that is safe for them to eat.