Sunday, September 7, 2008

Going Green in Preschool

Davis and Meg started preschool last week. They don't take a lunch to preschool. Instead the teacher assigns a week when the kids are responsible for bringing in a snack. A snack should consist of something to eat and drink. Believe it or not, both my kids had snack the first week of school.

I did my due diligence and read through the parent handbook because I assumed there would be "snack rules". Sure enough, there was a whole page dedicated to snacks. The second paragraph begins, "ALL SNACKS MUST BE IN UNOPENED, COMMERCIAL CONTAINERS".

I understand and respect the health department's need to keep "home-baked" goods at home. Believe me, I don't want the kids' preschool to be closed down. I also understand the dangers of bringing peanut products to school.

I'm guilty of buying commercial "non-organic" snacks on occasion. Sometimes a girl wants a handful of Goldfish, but I guess I wanted to set a good "green" example to start off the school year. I was determined to find a commercial, organic snack that didn't contain peanut butter or wasn't manufactured in the same facility as a peanut product.

It wasn't all that easy to find and it certainly wasn't cheap, but it made me feel good. I was also encouraged by the fact the teachers don't want juice boxes to be brought to school. Their reasons may be different than mine, but it's a little less waste filling up their trash cans. They also send home a canvas bag for the kid's to bring their snack in for the day.

Birthday celebrations will also be different for the kids this year. The administration has asked parents not to bring in sugary treats. Instead the birthday boy or girl can donate a copy of their favorite book in honor of their special day. I really like this idea and applaud the staff for trying something new and different.

Now I just need to work up the courage to implement a recycling program. How are you handling snacks and recycling for your kids?

This is my September submission for the Green Moms Carnival hosted this month by Surely You Nest.


nottryingforaboy said...

Montessori- the snacks are supplied by the school. The parents don't have to do anything. For birthday, we do supply treats (store bought, pre-packaged), some parents give a goody bag with pencils or cheap toys. They already recycle and each classroom has their own recycling bin which the kids empty into a larger one in the school office.

Kindergarten/Elementary school- Each child brings their own treats for the daily snack. TheOldest has a thermos which I fill with whatever she wants that day. Lately it has been grapes. For birthdays, the school (K-8) just this year said no more treats. The kids can give out little toys. Last week she got a mini bowling set for her friend's birthday. I'm not sure about recycling there. It is a new school to us.

For future reference, Sam's Club (yes, I know, evil as well) sells a box of organic, individual treats. Half the box is chocolate cookies and half is like cheetos. The brand is Snikiddy.
Maybe you can find it somewhere else. Their packaging still isn't ideal though.

The Not Quite Crunchy Parent said...

Our school (K-8) recently instituted a "no sugary snacks" rule...finally- I was appalled at the lack of one before.

In preschool though we had a "must make the snack in school rule" which was great for spreading the word on healthy organic food to other parents.

We skip the junk food thing even at Halloween when we offer a big basket of small toys, etc. - some admittedly plastic ;-( but at least no sugary.

Mindful Momma said...

Hmmmm...the trade-off between sugary snacks and throw-away, plastic toys....that's tough. I love the idea of snacks made in school though...what a fun preschool activity!

Rebecca said...

I understand the reasons for those rules, but I would be bothered by them. I'd hate to spend money on packaged foods (even if they were organic/sort of healthful), and the waste would drive me crazy. What did you end up finding? Would something like a watermelon be allowed? It doesn't come in "commercial packaging," but it does come in its own unopened container!

Check out the Green Baby Guide later tonight, when I am going to post something on finding organic foods at Grocery Outlet. I don't think you have this store in your part of the country, but they do sell some packaged organic foods for discount prices.

Jennie said...

Alana - I had to fight this battle when we lived in Louisville. THings that I could sent in (after I needled the admin)...lunchmeat from the deli with the sticker intact. Bagged fruit. Any fruit in a container. (Strawberries, bags of grapes, blueberries...) Bananas. Cheese Sticks. Yogurt cups. Carrots in a bag with a big container of ranch. Cantaloupe or pineapple (the teacher will have to cut it up.) Cooked pasta salads from the deli in a container. You get the idea. I know you can make that silly rule work to your benefit. I am convinced that you can do anything...especially after seeing that BENCH!!! Call me or email me about FRIDAY!!! YAY!!!

Kathy said...

My kid starting a preschool program and one school I toured gave the kids juice and pop tarts for a snack.

Seriously? This is going to be a lot harder than I thought. :)