Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tina and nutrition

I recall another student. I'll call her Tina, since she was a teeny thing. I taught her in my gr. 4 class. What a pet. This 'new' initiative to teach nutrition in elementary school is a hoot.

Government Helping Students Get Ready To Learn With ...

McGuinty McGuinty Government Helping Students Get Ready To Learn With Student Nutrition Plan. More Ontario Children And Youth Benefiting From Healthy Food Initiative

 As if this is 'new'! As teachers we've complained about junk food in schools for years. Teachers and Principals continue to permit staff to sell junk food and popcorn as fundraisers. I knew that we were only promoting bad nutrition. The only time I allowed junk food was on party days. It was special and a treat.

We've been teaching good nutrition in health for as long as I had been teaching. And, like 'teaching' Black History Month, you do not devote a month to acceptance of differences and other faiths, you devote your days to promoting good health as an integral part of your values and your morals.

I had decided that since the kids were eating horrible food much of the time, that for their first nutrition break I  would make a rule that first snack had to be something from one of the four food groups.
Some wrestled with this, but since a few students brought in a bag of potatoe chips for snack, this would get some good food into them for the morning, at least.

This child had an issue. Her mother had sent her with a twinkie, and chocolate milk.
Another child in the class gave her half of her sandwich. They were always so generous with each other. This mom proceeded to give me a phone call. I had to return her call. My policy was to phone parents 5 - 10 minutes before the recess bell went, as this would provide an external closure to the phone call. She was furious that I would tell her child what she could eat in the class.  She tore a strip off me for being critical of her food choices and how dare I tell her child what to do. 

We left it at that. Tina and I had a deal, I brought in crackers and peanut butter, and kids continued to share with her. Come parent-teacher interview time, the mom was vicious. She was poor and did not have much money for good nutrition. That sent me off on another tack. I brought in fruit and tried to help. I was even more determined to help this child. She was so thin.

The fabulous Milk Marketing Board nutrition workshops were generous in those days. They provided us with pictures of foods, with the nutrition counts on the back. We used them to plan good meals, balanced meals. Their visual aids contributed a great deal to our classroom.

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Teachers

Dairy Farmers of Manitoba - Nutrition Education Resources for Teachers

Milk: From Farm to Fridge was created in partnership with Ontario Agri-Food Education.

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