No Lunch for my preschooler, someone explain!

  1. Could someone listen to my story and offer a bit of advice? I don't know where else to turn for some support.

    This past week was my daughter's first week in Preschool. The program is for 3, 4, and 5 year old's. The school is public and recieves grant money from our state, so there are no fees and free bus transportation too! Great, right....almost.

    The class is from 12-3PM, Mon-Fri. The bus picks up my child at 11:05 AM and drops her off at home at 3:50 (we live in an adjacent town). The problem? I was informed there is no lunch served at school, but the kids will be offered a "nutritious snack" at 1:30, and we should feed our kids lunch before school. I tried to comply but my daughter gets up at 9 and doesn't want breakfast untill 9:30, she usually eats cereal (light eater 1st thing in AM). We have to leave for bus stop by 10:55, so I would have to offer her lunch by 10:30, an hour after her cereal.

    Needless to say, she doesn't eat lunch before school, and by the time she gets home at 4, she is starving!!! So yesterday I packed a little lunchbag for her with a PBJ sandwich because the "nutritious snack" I found out was some apple sauce....she doesn't like or eat applesauce. The Director called me to inform me that was unacceptable, Ana cannot have a lunch because none of the other kids have a lunch and it is not fair. I spoke with other mothers, ALL of our kids are coming home hungry. We want a lunch time. We will provide the food, they only need to provide the time. The Director told me it isn't fair to the kids whose parents can't afford to bring them a sack lunch to do that.

    WHAT!!!! Seriously, who can't afford to give their 3-4-or 5 yr old a PBJ sandwich!!!! I don't think it is SAFE for my child to go that long without food. Hypoglycemia, anyone?

    I am so frustrated. She loves her school, but I am considering taking her out of program. I am in Nur. Sch. now and not working much, so my hubby & I can't afford a program at private school.

    What should we do? Is it unhealty for the kids? I feel I have tried talking to Director, she assures me it is within State Board of Ed. guidelines, should I go further or pull Ana out?

    By the way, the "nutritious snack" today was popsicles.
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    About sunnyside

    Joined: Aug '03; Posts: 40; Likes: 1
    Student Nurse


  3. by   memphispanda
    Why not get her up earlier and shift her schedule so you can feed her lunch at home? It would be a huge chunk of the preschool day if they had to feed the kids lunch. I would address the appropriateness of the snack that is offered, but I totally understand their position (having been a preschool teacher myself).
  4. by   LeesieBug
    I thought the same thing, maybe getting her up earlier. IF you are happy with the program aside from the food situation, that is. Is there any way you can skip having her ride the bus either to or from school? That would shorten the day up by nearly an hour. I also agree with memphis that the quality of the snack needs to be addressed. A popsicle is not going to cut it.

    In the end, if you can't find a solution that makes you and your daughter reasonably happy, take her out.
  5. by   sunnyside
    Yes, I have considered both of those options: getting her up earlier, and her not riding the bus. It seems as though the bus ride is the easiest way to fix this. There are however, a few days of the week that I really need her to ride the bus, and I think on those days I will continue to pack a little something extra for her.

    How about that "nutritious snack....." a popsickle, hmmmmmm, what nutrients are abundant there?
    Thanks guys!
  6. by   LauraF, RN
    My kids are in the public schools preschool program. It is a special education program and one of my children is a peer model. They don't get fed at school either. They do get a snack which ranges from goldfish crackers to fresh fruit depending on the day. I just juggle the kids schedule around school. I get them up earlier so they are well fed. I also take them to school myself and pick them up, which my 10 minutes equals 40 minutes for a bus. I have begun putting my 3 year olds to bed at 8pm and waking them at 7am. It has worked for the first 2 weeks of school. Good luck at figure something out. I wouldn't push the school because it is not all that unusual for half day classes to not be served a meal. You will be putting in alot of effort and getting nothing in return.
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    Wow, my 2 year old is up at 6:30.

    I don't know how I did it but I had my older kids in bed by 8 p.m. and then even in high school, my two boys went to bed at 9 p.m. until they were Seniors. I never could go to bed until my kids were asleep. Laying in bed reading always seemed to calm them down and they fell asleep pretty well.

    Speaking of school food and snacks . . . wait until your kids are in regular school. Nutritional meals? No way. Soda, fried chicken nuggets, ice cream . . . we have a huge epidemic of overweight kids and the schools DO NOT help.

  8. by   jenac
    How about suggesting the kids take turns bringing in snacks? Maybe talk with the other parents and see if they'd be willing to jump onto the bandwagon with it. That way you could have more influence on what their eating for snack. I agree though-I fail to see the "nutritiousness" of popsicles!
  9. by   bergren
    Unfortunately, due to the overcrowding in may public schools, 10:30 am for lunch is not unheard of.

    The hours of the preschool most likely allow them to offer an am program and get their teachers home before their own kids are out of school - a great incentive to get good teachers to work in an underpaid job.

    It is not just the fact that everyone's parents would not send a lunch, by making it a planned snack that the teacher can control keeps snack time limited to 10 - 15 minutes - not detracting from the open play and lesson plan. A sack lunch would take 20 - 30 minutes, a big chunk out of a 3 hour class.

    Also, at this age, finding out that refusing a food leads to no food is a great way to broaden a child's eating habits. Applesauce is not brussel sprouts. If she is hungry enough she might find that it is edible, not her favorite, but edible.

    It is very unusual for a child this young to be sleeping until 9 am. How late is she staying up at night? Our children began their bedtime routine at 7 at this age and were finished stories at 7:45 pm. They were up at 6 - 6:30 and 10:30 am would have been just 30 minutes earlier than their 11:00 am lunch (dinner at 5 or 5:30 pm). Now that she is going to school, the new activities and routine should tire her and moving to an earlier bedtime "now that she is old enough to go to school" would be a good time to transition. Our kids' bus for grade school came at 6:15 am - so early bedtimes are a good thing get started.

    And having a child come home "staving" is normal and a great way to have healthy snack habits start - have a PBJ sandwich and milk waiting, or fruit salad, or even a veggie pizza - a substantial snack - and this is the best time to hear about their day - they chitter chatter as they decompress

    I highly value preschool. All the research shows it gives children a tremendous headstart in preparation for school in both cognitive skills and social skills. The studies find that it is one of the leading predictors for finishing high school and even has positive social effects after high school. It is hard when we have been the only person controlling our kids lives to have to negotiate with the school, but it is just the beginning of concessions you will be asked to make. Even private schools are firm with policies.

    If this situation is not going to work for you and your routine, you might consider switching her to another program or driving her yourself and letting her eat in the car. You said she was hungry, but you did not say if she liked school or not. If she is liking school, I hope that making adjustments in you home routine would allow her to be satiated and still take advantage of this great opportunity.

    Good luck to you and good luck in your studies. Come back later and tell us how you resolved this.
  10. by   Noney
    All these suggestions are good. If getting her up earlier is not something that works for you. How about a big breakfast with some protien when she gets up, Then something small before she gets on the bus.

  11. by   capgirl
    Is this program funded under the universal pre-K guidelines? The univ.pre-k in my town feeds the kids a "snack" consisting of a meat/cheese sandwich, cookies, milk, fruit. The federal guidelines apply in this program.(That is not to say school lunch is the ideal, but it sure beats popsicles)
  12. by   renerian
    I am guessing that since they are there such a short time they are not required to feed them which is pretty standard. I would recommend the getting up earlier or maybe going with fruit and cereral bars something easy to handle she can do on the run. I don't think a bagged lunch is good either as the other kids will see it and want something too. Does that make sense? I have 5 kids so I have heard all this before and experienced the give/take/push/pull with schools and with kids. Takes a while to work out kinks in their habits or routines.

    Does this help?