Attitudes about food develop early in life. The food children eat affects their well-being, their physical growth, their ability to learn, and their overall behavior. We have an opportunity to help children learn about foods, to enjoy a variety of foods from their own culture and others, and to help them begin to appreciate that their bodies need to be strong, flexible, and healthy. Eating moderately, eating a variety of foods, and eating in a relaxed atmosphere are healthy habits for young children to form.
Students who arrive during early drop off time (between 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.) may choose to have breakfast before class begins. Families are encouraged to participate by donating healthy snacks for our students during the school year. Our desirable snack list is based on two nutritious food groups that will be represented at each snack time as outlined in USDA guidelines. Our intention is to serve a wide variety of nutritional snacks, and encourage children to expand their tastes by at least trying a portion of the food offered.
Please ensure your child brings lunch in a lunch box and a water bottle. If he/she attends the extended day hours (9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.), he/she needs to bring an afternoon snack. Welcome Amigos International School provides children with a healthy morning snack. We strongly discourage PEANUT products due to their high allergen dangers. The school provides a healthy balanced morning snack such as fruit, cheese, crackers, vegetables, and water. Parents are encouraged to bring a snack for our children on a volunteer basis. A signup sheet will be posted near the sign in/out sheet for you to sign your name in as indicated. If your child does NOT stay for lunch, include a small snack. Please LABEL the outside of the lunchbox clearly with his/her name. Reusable water bottles should also be labeled.
Our snacks are based on fruits, vegetables, cheese, and a variety of wheat crackers. Parents are responsible to bring lunch for their children if they stay for the lunch hour o full day program. In addition, parents are welcome to bring their children’ snacks as well. (See Sample Menu Table 8.2)
The children are encouraged to be independent during lunchtime with teachers’ guidance. Teachers demonstrate and encourage children to use good manners and engage in positive conversation after we all do our ritual “Gracias por la comida” (Thank you for our meal poem) as a class prior to eating (see 8.4)
In this facility, food may be brought from home under the following conditions. These guidelines apply for special occasions, lunch or snack.
1. Perishable food brought from home to be shared with other children must be store-bought and in its original package, or must be whole fruits.
2. Lunch and snack foods brought from home should meet with the guidelines of the Child and Adult Care Food program for the types of foods and portion sizes. They are prepared and transported in a sanitary fashion, including maintenance of safe food temperatures for perishable items. Food that is not at a safe temperature when it arrives will be discarded. Perishable foods that require refrigeration will be kept below 40 degrees F and perishable hot foods will be kept above 140 degrees until served. Food brought from home will be labeled with the child’s name and date.
3. Students are be allowed to share food provided by the child’s family unless the food is intended for sharing with all of the children.
4. Leftover food will be discarded. The only food that may be returned to the family is food that does not require refrigeration or holding at a hot temperature, that came to the facility in a commercially wrapped package, and was never opened.
5. Staff members bringing lunch from home are encouraged to demonstrate healthy food choices.
For each child with special health care needs, food allergies, or special nutrition needs, the child’s health care provider should provide the program an individualized care plan prepared in consultation with family members and specialist involved in the child’s care. Children with food allergies shall be protected from contact with the problem food. With family consent, the program posts information about the child’s allergies in the food preparation area and in areas of the facility the child uses to serve as a visual reminder to all adults who interact with the child during the day. Program staff will keep a daily record documenting the type and quantity of food a child consumes when any child with a disability has special feeding needs and provide parents/guardians with that information.
High-risk foods, often involved in choking incidents, are not served. These include hot dogs, whole or sliced into rounds; whole grapes; nuts; popcorn; raw peas and hard pretzels; spoonfuls of peanut butter; or chunks of raw carrots or meat larger than can be swallowed whole.
The school does not use foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages as a punishment. Furthermore, teaching staff will never threaten to withhold food as a form of discipline.