Monday, September 24, 2007

Observing School Lunch

I went to the childcare center at 11:00 am this morning to observe lunch through the one-way mirror. I was curious about how four staff manage twelve toddlers eating sloppy joes. I was impressed. The children sat in two groups at two different tables and happily ate their lunch. The staff served the sloppy joe in two pieces: meat sauce and bun. Baby carrots (the small ones that you can buy in bags already peeled and chunked into 2-inch pieces) were cut into small pieces and bananas were sliced into rounds. Some of the children ate with their fingers and some used a spoon. The meal was messy but the staff didn't seem to mind and served seconds when the children cleaned their plates. Caroline sat at the end of one of the tables and I could see her eating her tomatoes and picking at her broccoli. My heart sank. I wanted to run into the room, grab the sloppy joe meat sauce and put a spoonful on her plate. But since we've opted out of the food program, I knew that all I could do was watch while Caroline ate (and picked at) the lunch that I packed for her. For the first time, I had second thoughts about packing Caroline's meals and snacks for her instead of allowing her to participate in the food program. When I picked her up this afternoon, I asked her teacher, Krystyna, how Caroline ate at lunch today. Krystyna said that Caroline did not eat well but assured me that she usually eats most of her lunch. Was it the broccoli that turned her off? Was she more interested in the other children's' food? Or did she just have an off day? I don't know but for now, I am going to go with the off day.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, September 25: Breakfast - oatmeal, peaches (canned last summer); Lunch - flour tortilla, pinto beans, fresh mozzarella cheese, corn (frozen from Titus Farm), Early Girl tomato, patty pan squash; Snacks - hard boiled egg

Childcare Center Menu, September 25: Breakfast - fruit cocktail, apple muffin; Lunch - soft shell veggie tacos with refried beans, cheese and corn, kiwi; Snacks - baked potato, butter


Anonymous said...

Me again, Betty...I SO felt for you when you described Caroline picking at her broccoli and wanting to go in and give her the sloppy joe like the other kids had. But what I recall is how I used to beg my mom to buy soda pop when I was young (more because I wanted to be like my friends) and how she stuck to her guns and never let us get in the habit of drinking pop.

When I was older my friends were all hooked on soda and I never even wanted to buy it. So I am going to be the voice of Caroline from the future saying 'thanks so much, Mom, for knowing what was best for me when I was too little to know myself.' Your persistence is making a difference in this world, Betty. Yea!


Betty said...

Thanks, Christine. I will read your comment every time I feel deflated. My mom was the same way with me and I am very thankful.

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