Picky Eater

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by ksmomy, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    Mar 7, 2007

    I teach 4 year olds and I have a lot of children who are picky eaters. The parents of one of my new students want to bring in food for him to eat when he doesn't like the lunch. The other children would not have additional food. (And some of them don't touch anything on their plates.) I have already let the director know I am uncomfortable with this and tomorrow we have a conference with the parents. Have you guys had any experience with this?
     
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  3. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with this. Do I have an answer? I wish! Relate it to elementary school-if the child doesn't like the school lunch, the parent may choose to pack the lunch solely for the benefit of the child nutritionally. If the other children don't like what is on their plate, then unfortunately they don't eat. Send a letter home to some of the parents that you are concerned that their child is not eating the school lunch and therefore is not as nutritionally nourished as should be. Suggest they pack lunches to alleviate their child's hunger.
     
  4. Christine3

    Christine3 Cohort

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    Hi Ksmomy,
    I teach 6 yr olds...I have a little boy that is vegan, yes VEGAN. So everyday this is a production for this child at lunch. I feel so bad for the child b/c this is making him feel isolated and different from the crowd at such a young age. Everything this child consumes is soy. It's ashame he won't be able to experience all types of foods like normal children. When I met the parents at a November conference they have warned me that their son was used to their way of eating but in my eyes this child feels like he doesn't fit in. The other kids always shout out "But so-and-so can not have it" they glare right at the child almost like they have power over it.
    My situation was a bit different but it was the closest I could think of! Good luck tomorrow!!
     
  5. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    Mar 7, 2007

    Thanks for the replies guys. Unfortunately, I can't invite the parents to send in food. That is one of the problems. It is supposed to be against school policy for outside food to be brought in and we are only supposed to allow substitutions for food allergies or cultural differences. That is part of what bothers me. I have had to tell other families that they couldn't bring something in for breakfast etc. because it is against school policy. They previously allowed this family to break the rules in the classroom before he came to mine because they are problem parents. I just have a problem allowing this child to have something and then telling the other children they can't. I haven't done this yet but I don't want to start. Also, the children don't seem to have a problem. Usually they eat something at morning snack and at afternoon snack. And they may nibble at lunch it just depends.
     
  6. TeacherShelly

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    Is it a state funded program? I haven't heard of preschools where the kids have to eat the food provided to them by the school. What's the big deal (from the school's point of view) if parents provide food? I'm curious, not arguing, because until I know what the school intends with the policy , I'm not sure if I agree with it or can even offer suggestions.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. You have my sympathies, because I hate enforcing a policy with which I disagree. I think that packing a lunch should be an option.

    Why not ask the director how she wants the question addressed? Unless it's a brand new policy, I imagine the question has to have come up before.
     
  8. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    No, changeofcareer, it is a private school. According to the state guidelines, children can bring food from home. The school just has to supplement if what the child brings does not meet the nutritional requirements. It is the school's decision and I am not quite sure why this policy is in place. I think they may be thinking about food allergies but no one in our class has food allergies. It would make more sense to me if the children were able to bring something in and we could have the school lunch available to supplement what they have. It just wouldn't be fair to only allow one child to bring something in and not everyone else.
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Mar 7, 2007

    Is your food program USDA funded?
     
  10. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    No. It is not USDA funded. They are completely private. They are not involved with any food program.
     
  11. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    At our school, the only food that can be brought in must be STORE BOUGHT, not homemade, and it's for things like parties or birthdays. Otherwise, kids eat what's provided by the school. We do a "breakfast snack" of cereal and milk for kids who come really early (it's served around 7 or 7:15; we open at 6:30), and then AM snack, lunch, and PM snack.

    I have a LOT of food allergies and vegetarians of varying levels in my room... but that's the only reason you get a substitution. Lunch is a main course, fruit, veggie, and milk. The kids are pretty cool with understanding that other kids may have a different snack entree, because "___ makes so-and-so sick" or "because ___'s mom and dad said they can't eat ___."

    If a kid really isn't going to eat what's served at snack (and has at least tried it), we'll usually give them something else from the stash we keep in the room (graham crackers, Ritz, etc... leftovers from the rare occasion we are given extra snacks). Usually they'll at least eat something. My mom always figured that we'd eat when we got hungry enough... now there are very few things my brother or I won't touch.

    I think that letting the parents send food every day is going to open a LOT of doors that you may or may not want to open. If the other parents find out (and they will), you may have a LOT who want to do the same thing.
     
  12. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    My district just adopted a brand new wellness policy that states that no one is allowed to bring food into the classroom for any reason. My little ones aren't in school long enough for lunch, but they get mid morning snack provided by the school and funded by our state grant. If they don't want the snack, they don't eat. We aren't allowed to bring food in for class parties, for reinforcements, or anything else for that matter. They recently altered the policy (after much argument from the teachers that they had curriculum areas that were being affected poorly by the rule) to state that food is allowed in the rooms if it serves an explicit instructional purpose that can't be achieved in any other way (i.e. teaching taste in the five senses like I will be doing soon!). The older kids are specifically told that they are not to share food in the cafeteria, and the monitors are on patrol to make sure everyone eats only what they were sent in with. A bit extreme, but it has been deal-able so far.

    As for your particular situation, if I were you I would also be very uncomfortable allowing only 1 parent to send stuff in. Once you bend a rule for someone it sets a precedent you probably don't want. If the school policy backs you up, I say stand by it. The parents probably won't be happy, but hey there are also a lot of people that say that if a child is truly hungry, he'll eat! Even if he's picky. Good luck..............
     
  13. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I agree with the no outside food policy if it's a preschool or daycare. Not so much if it's a "school". It only causes more problems in my experiences (kids seeing the other food, parents not bringing in proper items, etc.) and I have found that many picky eaters are picky because of bad eating habits at home. I have had TONS of picky eaters, but I have taught them good eating habits and they know Ms. Jennie's rules when it comes to meals. IMHO, when you are dealing with 4 year olds, it's a bit different than elementary school. They're more likely to throw fits when someone else has something else in their lunch, etc. It just causes way more issues. I much prefer everyone just have the same thing. It's a policy in my home as well...no outside food, and I never budge on it either unless there is an allergy (which then needs a doctor's excuse) or a special day like a birthday.
     
  14. childcare teach

    childcare teach Comrade

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    added more

    I have a classroom of picky eaters. If one child says I dont like it .They all say I dont like it. We ask them children to just take a baby bite. They usually they all say i like it can i have more. We are on the usda food program here . There are guidelines we must follow at every meal.
     
  15. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    Thanks so much for all of your input. The director let me know today that they weren't even going to discuss it, she was just going to let them know that no food would be brought into the center unless there was a doctor's note requiring it. She told me there was no need for me to stay for the conference so I will find out in the morning how it went. It already made me feel better to have her support.
    Thank You!
     
  16. TeacherShelly

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    What happens if a parent wants their child to avoid artificial colors, flavors, trans fats, sugary (corn syrupy) food? Does the school provide organic, healthful, non-processed food?

    Just curious... looking forward to hearing how it works out for you tomorrow.
     
  17. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    I'm not sure how they would handle this. No, they do not serve organic, non-processed foods. They serve lunches and snacks similar to those served in most schools and centers that I am familiar with.
     
  18. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I don't! That would get very costly. Parental "preference" is not honored, but I am also on a food program. The foods I provide are in accordance with the USDA standards and are healthy. I do not honor anything without a doctor's note stating it is an allergy or else it just becomes a mess and a huge pain in the rear to observe every parent's preferences.
     
  19. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    The conference happened on Thursday afternoon and from what I understand from the director, it got pretty ugly with the mom. I'm glad I didn't have to be in there. The bottom line is that the director stood behind the policy and told the parents that no food could be brought in unless they get a doctor's note. There were other issues they had that were completely unfounded and too lengthy to get into but the director supported me and stood behind me. The dad came in on Friday morning with an entirely different attitude. I'm just glad the situation has a positive ending so far.
     
  20. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Personally I think it's silly not to allow parents to send food. Children need to learn that fair doesn't mean everyone gets the same thing. I was a picky eater as a child and continue to be as an adult. I hate school lunch! YUCK! I bring a yogurt every day, sometimes carrots, and some nuts. In school I would bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or tuna fish. I usually had carrots and a snack.
     
  21. onelilmonkey

    onelilmonkey Rookie

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    Our program also does not allow outside food to be brought in except birthday/holiday snacks. But there was one time that we had a child who was very picky and the mom was very concerned because he wouldn't eat anything all day. Our director okayed it for her to bring in a substitute, but the stuff she was bringing in was JUNK! Then all the other kids asked why they couldn't have cheetos and cookies for lunch. It really was a mess and eventually we went back to serving him our lunches again and you know what...he started finally eatting it!
    Then a couple years down the road we had another student the same way and the parent was mad that we wouldn't let her do the same thing. So she would bring in cheezeballs and oreos as "special treats" just so her daughter would eat something during the day! Uugh! It's just easier to stick to the school menu cause then you don't have to worry about whether the children are getting their daily nutritional requirements and you don't have to take the junk food away when the parents send it in their lunch (cause THAT would cause problems!).
    I would tell the parents that you can work with the menu items to get the child to eat. If you know they like fruit cocktail, then save some and offer that to the child in place of the apples or something. If they like bread but nothing on it then give them a plain slice of bread in place of the BBQ sandwich with the BBQ beef on the side. We've done a lot of "experimenting" with the menu to get some kids to eat.
     
  22. TeacherShelly

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    I don't expect a program provider to cater to my family's diet requirements, but I would think it is a bit controlling to say I can't send the food I want my kids to eat to preschool. It seems like the school is treading on my territory as a parent when they dictate what my kids will eat. I'm the mother, after all, and what they eat makes a difference in their lifelong health as well as behavior during the day. Craft Mac & Cheese and Sunny DeLite, for example, aren't going to work for me.

    There are plenty of co-op preschools in my area where organic whole foods are the norm, lucky for me.
     
  23. ksmomy

    ksmomy Companion

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    I agree with you change of career that parents are responsible for what their children eat. As a parent I would try to find a preschool that offered the kind of diet I felt was acceptable. I would not choose one that had a policy stating that I could not bring food and then try to change it. I was always picky about what my children eat and fortunately they never had to attend daycare so I didn't have this issue. I completely agree that what they eat now impacts their lifelong health and future eating habits. You are lucky that you have co-op schools in your area that meet your needs. Unfortunately, in a large center such as the one I work in, it would be very difficult to implement individual diets. In theory, parents bringing in food would be the answer, but unfortunately my experience with parents bringing in food doesn't mean the food will be healthier. It normally means the child is eating potato chips and cookies for lunch. :)
     
  24. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I am on a federal food program so if the kids do not eat what I serve, I do not get my money for that meal, plain and simple. I am a small family daycare and work alone so I do not have time to fix all different lunches for my children. I have never been to a preschool or daycare around this area who allows parents to bring food unless it's the only choice around here and they are not on a food program or the parent has a doctor excuse. Also, food program's do not allow Kraft Mac and Cheese or anything but 100% juice. That is the purpose for a food program, so the kids are getting the nutrition they need and everything is compatible with the USDA standards. It's not controlling, it's to diffuse issues before they even arise so things do not get out of hand (what you do for one, you must do for all). The teachers or a cook in a large center do not have time to prepare 100 different lunches for the kids. JMO, but if people can not find a place that caters to their needs and they feel that threatened by something like that, then perhaps they shouldn't have their child in daycare or preschool then. :) No offense to anyone. Like I said, just my opinion, but I don't think many parents don't ever think of what problems is causes by sometimes allowing children to bring in outside food out of preference, especially parent's who have never worked in a daycare or preschool setting. It would be one thing if the school was not on a food program or they offered junk, but when on a program, that is not the case (hopefully).
     
  25. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jenn, That makes more sense. I have never heard of a program like that before. So I understand why you have them eat the food you provide. The daycare centers I worked in did not provide food.
     
  26. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I like being on a food program. Our school district is on it as well, although they do allow outside food but it can't be something hot, it has to be bagged and ready to eat. It not only helps me out financially, because food is expensive, but it also saves me time from having to prepare different meals, the children learn to eat family style (dishing out their own servings and passing things around the table), it diffuses issues like parents bringing it junk, and it also exposes the kids to foods that they might not normally get at home (like my very picky eater who only eats certain things at my home that she wont eat at hers because she doesn't get a choice here :)...she gets a lot of junk sometimes at home). I have rules to follow, like the 100% juice (I would never do anything else anyways, we don't drink soda and other junk) and certain things have to be made from scratch. Yes, they get things like chicken nuggets that may be processed, but I also have to use a brand that has a USDA nutrition label, not just any junky brand. Mac and Cheese has to contain REAL cheese and be made from scratch. I personally like to use wheat noodles. I have found it to be very rewarding, not only for myself, but for the kids (especially ones that mom and dad say are picky, because they quickly learn my table and food rules;) ).
     
  27. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I was getting alarmed here, until I read that a dr. can send a note that will allow an exception. You see, my daughter has severe reflux, and cannot eat many foods. MANY foods. And, before she was properly diagnosed, she was so used to food being equated with pain that she developed a "pediatric feeding disorder" and anxiety attacks associated with eating. Yes, at age two. She was hospitalized this summer in a therapeutic setting for SEVEN weeks for food re-training...and is improving. But, literally, if she had to eat what the rest of the kids were eating at daycare, she just wouldn't eat. Period. She went through a stage for about 4 months after she turned two, where she lost significant amounts of weight and would become dehydrated frequently (and was diagnosed with malnourishment).

    Just keep in mind, I know we are WAY on the extreme ends of things, but sometimes picky is not just picky...there may be a medical issue or a pyschological issue at play. Or both, like with my daughter.
    Kim
     
  28. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Kim, that is an exception that would be excepted and treated with the utter most care and consideration for the child. All the doctor would have to do is write it out. That is also a requirement of our food program...the doctor's note, because a note that just says "parents don't want them to have......" is not exceptable. It has to state a medical condition. In your daughter's case it would definitly be a medical excuse and I, or the center, would work with you in making sure her condition is being taken care of properly. :)
     
  29. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    When my daughter went to pre-school, there were many lunch choices that she didn't like. I asked the director if I could send in a lunch, but that was against the "rules". I saw immediatly that I didn't have a case because there wasn't a medical reason. I really liked this pre-school and didn't want to rock the boat. I finally told my daughter to eat the bread on the tuna sandwich that she didn't like, or pick out the vegetables that you do want to eat, or try the hot dog, even though it's not the kind that I buy. Well, she didn't end up starving to death. When she is invited to a friend's home for dinner, I remind her to be polite and eat whatever it is that is served.
     
  30. Bernard

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    I am currently part of a program that does not allow the children to bring lunches from home, unless they have a doctor's note.

    Before that, I worked at a school where children were encouraged to eat school lunch but always had the option to bring a sack lunch. At that school, we really worked to keep the meals and snacks healthy: lots of fresh produce, very few sweets/artificial colors, plenty of whole grains, and no junk food.

    The kids ate everything really well, and the only time we had problems was with our "picky eaters", whose parents would pack their lunch boxes with Oreos, Cheetos, M & Ms, Kool-Aid Coolers, Lunchables, EZ Mac, Fruit Roll Ups, etc. It was a constant battle with them, becuase they swore up and down that those foods were the "only things their kids would eat."

    I think some of those kiddos never saw a real fruit or vegetable in the course of a week! And, while our other kids ate the healthy school lunches very well, it was hard for them not to covet the flashy packaging on the sack lunch convenience foods! :) Little kids (and bigger kids, too) will turn away from favorite foods for shiny junk with a picture of a superhero on the wrapper! Pretty soon, they were begging their parents to let them bring sack lunches, too.

    I personally would have preferred the "school lunch unless you have a doctor's note" policy because of the poor quality of the sack lunches that came in, and the issues related to them.
     
  31. Bernard

    Bernard Companion

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    Ponypal, we were posting at the same time.
    I'm just mentioning what we saw at our school - I'm not implying that your intent was to send your kiddo with a box full of junk!
    It sounds like you are doing a great job of setting healthy and mannerly guidelines for your child. :)
     
  32. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Ksmomy, JenPooh, I'm getting the picture now, thanks for the posts. I forgot that lots of parents say "It's all she'll eat!" when what they mean is, "It's what we usually have at home so she's not used to the school's food!" I love that my kids' preschool parents bring in foods from all of their own cultures, so mine get to try different things and learn manners (yes, please and no, thank you). They also pass the food and learn to serve themselves, which i like. And even though our guidelines call for healthful food, we still get "I forgot!" when the snack is pancakes with fake maple syrup (happened this week) and hazelnut chocolate cookies (we're no nuts too due to allergies).

    JenPooh, I didn't know the food program had healthy guidelines. For some reason I was imagining velveeta and margarine. Thanks for clearing that up.
     
  33. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I worked in a daycare that did not allow outside food. We also ate with the children and there were some days that I actually swallowed without chewing with a big smile on my face! Liver day was the worse (they tried to make it better by serving french fries with it).
     
  34. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Gah! :p
     
  35. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    EWWW! I don't have the heart to put my kids through liver. Egads!:eek:
     
  36. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jen... good thing you don't have my kids. :) 27 kiddos in my room, 10 have food issues:

    1 no strawberries (allergy)
    1 no dairy (highly allergic)
    1 no egg or egg products (allergy)
    1 no peanuts (or anything that might have been AROUND peanuts, like granola bars or chex mix) (allergy)
    1 no fish (allergy, I think?)
    2 no meat at all or egg (strict vegetarian... but can have milk/cheese)
    1 no pork or beef (religious, i think?)
    1 no beef (religious reasons, I think)
    1 no pork (religious reasons)

    Fortunately my kids are REALLY good about understanding that they or someone else has a different meal. Only occasionally do they ask for someone else's... they're usually pretty comparable (maranara pasta was the alternative to today's beef ravioli, or veggie burgers for cheeseburgers). But our chef has QUITE the time coming up with it!
     
  37. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Bernard, no offense taken here! :) We were posting at the same time so I know you weren't implying anything. Thank you for the nice compliment. I know that daycare meal times can be difficult, I taught there for 2 years when I began my career. That's why I thought it was best to give my own child some lunch time strategies.

    I do agree with you. When it's snack time in my class, the kid's all bring their own snack and I see everything from grapes to cookies to swedish fish. What are parent's thinking? What's with the swedish fish? No wonder their kid is wired!
     
  38. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    WOW! That's a lot of allergies. I've had children who were allergic to a lot, but never that many in one classroom.
     
  39. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Yeah... it's the most that any classroom in the school has... most of the other ones only have 2-3 if that. It keeps whichever of us is serving lunch and snacks on our toes (especially because 7 of those 10 are only part-time kids, so they only come 2-3 days a week).
     
  40. mrJon

    mrJon Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2007

    All of this has been very entertaining to read. OVERALL I would say that it sounds like there are a lot of children running their household... if the parents could would they send them to the grocery store? (at least those little carts would get used more often). It sounds like some parents need to buck up and be parents. We have a unique system from the looks of it. We provide morning snack and afternoon snack, and parents provide lunch. The parents have the option of purchasing (through the school site we are located at) a "hot lunch" for their child. We had a big issue this year where a parent did not agree with the foods we are serving for the snack times ( I secretly agreed with the parent :p) I worked out a program with mom and dad, where they could send her with MORE lunch and at snack time she would be presented with her lunch box only... this pleased the parent, and after a week the girl was used to it. A couple other children wondered why she had her lunch box at snack time, and the little girl took care of it for us "My mommy and daddy want me to eat food they send". End of story... sounds impractical, but to me, it's all about pleasing the parents, and the children, while addressing all the children's needs.
     
  41. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Mar 14, 2007

    That is how the preschool programs I have worked at handled lunch and snack time.
     

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