Tag Archives: kindergarten

Good Eats

We heard a story recently about a local teacher who for a cooking lesson, decided that her kindergarteners should learn how to make cupcakes. This would be a treat … if it weren’t the norm. From what we hear, the kids in this classroom are used to sweet snacks.

Hey, we love dessert. We aren’t against treats! Kid’s deserve celebration from time to time! Besides, constantly forbidding sugar and treats can make a child resentful. But school is for learning … so what is the lesson?

When you have kids to feed, offer variety and begin to introduce kids to all the wonderful, healthful foods native to your area (and then, the rest of the world). Consider fun ways and places to eat, like an afternoon picnic, or put out carrot sticks and hummus at a tea party. Experiment! Kid’s will often eat way more than we think. There is a multitude of foods that are tasty, fun, and interesting and can be introduced in creative ways that invite kids and adults to try new foods. And for goodness sake, a cooking lesson is the perfect opportunity to introduce new foods. In our experience, kids are willing to try more variety when they are a part of the preparation. A classic example: have each child bring one ingredient from home (a la stone soup), and make a great soup or stew together. For a quicker snack, have everyone bring a piece of fruit from home, and make a great fruit salad.

If you want to teach kids about baking (without the cupcakes) make whole wheat breads from scratch. And while it’s not as simple to put together from a trip to the supermarket, you could find whole grains and really start from scratch. Simply grind them in a blender, or get yourself a grinding rock and go olde school. Don’t have time for this? … swap your cupcake mix for a healthy muffin mix.

Bonus: here’s a list from a local pre-school of kid-tested foods that aren’t full of chemistry or all about the cavities. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments …

All Natural
Apples, avocado, bananas, berries, rice, beans, carrots, cranberries (dried), grapes, melons & cantaloupe, nectarines, olives, pears, pickles, pineapple, raisins, cheese, snap peas, jicama, sunflower butter (seeds–like sunflower–don’t threaten kids with nut allergies!) for sandwiches.

Prepared Snacks
rice cakes, rice crackers, seaweed snacks, cheerios, (multigrain), fruit cups, (no sugar added), guacamole (mild), graham crackers, turkey meatballs, fig bars, pita chips, potato puffs, veggie crisps, pretzels, raisin bread, ramen, snack animals, tater tots (check for no trans-fats), tofu (seasoned ok), tortillas & mild salsa.

Cooked Foods
Meats (ham, turkey, chicken, etc), fish sticks, shred-your-own hash browns with catsup, hummus dip, mini whole-wheat waffles & real maple syrup.

Treats
Fruit popsicles, vegan/dairy-free muffins, gummy fruit snacks, sugar free jello & whip, fruit sorbet, yogurt (try it with honey).

Admissions Anxiety

It’s that time of year—when students anxiously await word from the prestigious schools they’ve applied to ….

This week, a mother came into the preschool in tears. Her child had just been interviewed for admission into kindergarten. She sat with an administrator who listed all of the ways that her son failed to measure up to the standards of this great school. Standards that included writing his name, knowing the alphabet, knowing his home phone number. This is half-way through his first year of preschool. “It takes a lot to make me cry,” she tells us.

Of course, from the school’s perspective, this is all easily explained, and a parent would be foolish not to see the writing on the wall. If my child is not prepared for kindergarten, they will be behind from the beginning. Other children, ahead of the curve, will get more attention and affirmation from teachers and my child will be slowly left behind. The downward spiral starts now: my child is doomed. Might as well get used to being at the bottom of the heap.

This mother (who is not given to these kinds of extremes, thankfully) said they never asked what her child’s interests are. They might have learned that he’s been to sixteen of California’s missions, and could give a history lesson. They didn’t learn how well he does sitting attentively in circle-time, and if they had asked they might have realized that while he does not have certain facts in hand, he is ready and eager to learn.

It gives us hope to hear that mom was asked by an administrator at another school (she has applied to seven) to share three things that make her son special. That’s more like it.