Magazine article Montessori Life

One School's Commitment to Nutritional Health

Magazine article Montessori Life

One School's Commitment to Nutritional Health

Article excerpt

This issue of Montessori Life emphasizes the importance of good nutrition. This is an issue of great consequence, as I am sure all of you are aware. The rise in childhood obesity, and thus the rise in diseases that accompany it, are frightening. Besides the prevention of disease, good nutrition is absolutely essential to optimum physical, social, and intellectual functioning.

A few years ago, the staff at my school decided they would like to revisit our nutrition policy and state it more effectively. All staff members who were interested were invited to participate in the process. I thought it would be beneficial to share the results of our efforts.

First of all, we decided to change the nutrition policy to a Nutrition Program with a mission statement, rationale, and specific expectations. The box below contains the program statement from our parent handbook.

I realize this is far from a complete statement on healthy eating, but it is a reasonable foundation. Most of the families cooperate with our nutrition program. If a student brings something that is not a good choice, she is asked to return it to her lunchbox and take it home with her. By being quite specific in our rationale and expectations, we have had success with students and parents. Lunches children bring to school reflect an increased awareness of nutritional content.

Your school may very well have something similar in place, but if you do not have a nutrition program, I would urge you to consider working together with your school community to create one. This can be a very sensitive issue, as people are frequently emotionally and socially tied to their food choices. Sharing or enjoying certain foods may be a person's way of expressing love, nurturing friendship, or giving comfort.

Thus, it is essential to exhibit a sensible attitude toward creating new programs, seeking a degree of moderation and avoiding extremes. Since nutrition has such an enormous effect upon the well being of our students, as well as upon us as adults, we should all consider doing whatever we can to support healthy choices and to help establish lifelong healthy eating habits. …

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