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Food based curriculum

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by joy orz, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. joy orz

    joy orz Approved members

    Feb 7, 2008
    I'm so frustrated. Kindergarten has been tough with so many birthday/holiday parties. Plus the half days that make lunch at 10 am. :rolleyes:

    Now her teacher calls me to say..."We are doing charting, so I want to have the kids use m&m's, then they get to eat them after." My reply was

    "We'll Ava will need a bolus for that so you'll have to bring her to the nurse" (the teacher and Ava for that matter hate unscheduled trips to the nurse"

    so she said, "Well, maybe Ava won't want to eat them. Not all kids like chocolate." :eek:

    I said "Seriously? Ava will want to eat them. And if she is high, I would prefer she not have m&m.'s Do you have to use food to do the chart? Can't you use beads or something?"

    THEN she said...
    "Well, if she's high we could just tell her she can't participate." :mad::mad::mad:

    At which point my head exploded and I said this.

    "She's five. FIVE. You are going to be the one to tell her she can't do something the whole class is doing and you are going to be the one to make her cry. Do you really want that in your classroom? Perhaps beads or seeds would be a better idea."

    I'm just so mad I could spit. Last year her teacher had no problem with not doing food things in the class room. This year (new school) her teacher acts resentful of everything.

    So long story, how do you get teachers on board about not using food for every thing?
  2. MommaKat

    MommaKat Approved members

    Sep 2, 2011
    And this is why we have 504s - She can't bar your daughter from participation, but because there are teachers who conveniently forget it is both wrong and illegal to bar students from participating in classroom activities, we need legal documents like 504 plans to remind them of their obligation to include All students. Grr, I'm mad for you. And, no, food isn't the only captivating, engaging way to create a chart in school. In fact, I find that it causes greater disruption. When I send kids out with something like a camera to collect pictures, or to ask survey questions of other teachers or upper / lower grade students, which we can then chart, there's even greater excitement than a silly handful of m&m's will ever create.

    Can you get some support from the school nurse or anyone else in the school on this? You shouldn't have to volunteer your time, but if you can, maybe you can suggest one of those more involved projects that involve picture taking or surveying. Those are much, much easier to document, share as true learning experiences, and tend to make principals really happy...

    ETA: On the plus side, at least the teacher called before hand.
  3. swimmom

    swimmom Approved members

    Feb 23, 2007
    Is she new to teaching? She sounds very insensitive.
  4. Connor's Mom

    Connor's Mom Approved members

    Nov 10, 2011
    Our teacher is good about having Connor test and bolus for any food related activities but, I have had to fight really hard to achieve that. Our fight right now is with the school reward system for their reading program. They tend to use "Donut day" or "ice cream treat" and can NEVER supply me with the carbs for the treat and always say I need to send something in for him because they don't want to be responsible. READ THE BOX AND TELL ME WHAT IT SAYS!!!!!

    This time it is worse though. It is an end of semester carnival. He more than qualified but, they "lost" one of his tests making him no longer qualified for the carnival. He checked his progress on Thursday during Library in the morning and was happy all day because he had all his tests in. By the end of the day one test had disappeared and he can't go to the carnival AND won't be able to go to the end of year reward either. I spent 3 weeks sitting next to him while he journaled every chapter of a book so he could take a teat on the book. It only took him 2 days to read it but, he hates doing the journal entries. I emailed the teacher and she said without the journal entry there isn't anything they can do. It was on loose leaf paper and instead of keeping it like she does with the other kids, she gave his back at Christmas. He asked if he needed it and she said "NO" so he recycled it!

    I know when they will find the test. It will be the day after the carnival. Then they will tell him "next time you'll be able to participate too.". It's happened before. I tried to contact Scholastic because they supply the tests but, the school changed their password and Scholastic can't access their completed tests.:mad:

    Could your daughter use sugar free gummie treats instead? Not that she should have to substitute anything but, that's what I had to do in first grade when Connor was diagnosed. His teacher would call me right before the activity and say, "what do you want to do. We are using fruit loops or M&M's or cookies. And Connor can't have those right?". I finally brought in a bag of sugar free gummie bears for activities like graphing/charting. Than I got a call saying that the other students wanted the tummies and so, she couldn't allow him to have something the others didn't have. WHAT? I had to make the effort to bring in different small objects for the whole class to use. I hope you don't need to go that far.

    Good luck!
  5. jessicat

    jessicat Approved members

    Jan 10, 2012
    so sorry to hear about this situation!!! I am a first grade teacher and the mother of a 7 year old D, Dx Aug 2010. I am outraged. I couldn't imagine a teacher not willing to modify her activity to meet the needs of the studnets for that particular year. I have students in my class this year who are allergic to dairy and eggs, so this year we chose alternate ideas for holiday parties. Instead of build a sundae we had popsicles. I would never want to exclude a student because of allergy. And If I had a diabetic in my class, I am sure I could think of many other graphing/charting activities that wouldnt include food. Aside from donating alternate items, like beads or carb free food, try speaking with the teacher again about the overall issue and ask the principal and nurse to join the meeting. HOw sad that the teacher seems so insensitive.
  6. Sarah Maddie's Mom

    Sarah Maddie's Mom Approved members

    Sep 23, 2007
    :( Ok, this is hard to do, but my advice is to stay very calm and as unemotional (as possible) and remind the teacher that 1. her 504 is there ensure that she is able to participate fully in ALL school activities and if that means that the teacher's decision to use M&Ms in the lesson plan means that she needs to factor in your dd's visit to the nurse and any delays that might cause. AND, 2. to remind the teacher that food for type 1 kids (especially junk food) is complicated and that if she continues to use food in the classroom then she will need to keep Ava first and foremost in her mind and remember that by doing so she is complicating the already complicated life of a young girl.

    Stay calm, stay focused, practice a bit of detachment and get your point across. Good luck!:cwds:
  7. Lisa - Aidan's mom

    Lisa - Aidan's mom Approved members

    Dec 3, 2011
    So frustrating, I hope you are able to use some of the good advice listed above by the others.
  8. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. Approved members

    May 19, 2008
    This makes me sick to my stomach.
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007
    Couldn't the nurse just come to the classroom for a minute to bolus the pump?
  10. cdninct

    cdninct Approved members

    Jul 29, 2011
    So very well put! When food is treated as a reward, it is not about the food itself but about the perceived punishment if a child can't have that food. I had never thought about it in quite that way before.

    I have taught grade 8 for a number of years, and I admit to using food on rare occasions (like, once every three months, maybe, depending on the year). I have never, and would never, use foods that one of my students could not eat. Needless to say I rarely brought anything in the year I taught grade 4 and had a boy with wheat, egg, milk, and assorted fruit allergies. Some of my colleagues felt strongly that he just had to learn that he couldn't always do what the others did, but I thought that I was not the one to be teaching that lesson, especially as he was only 9. And for a 5 year old? No way!

    Good luck resolving this. I'd be furious too.
  11. mom2Hanna

    mom2Hanna Approved members

    Jul 6, 2008
    So to me, every single mom in that classroom should be up in arms. And maybe they are, and each one thinks it's only her, so if you can do it diplomatically you could talk to all the other moms and see how they feel about the candy and cupcake parade. If all the moms agree candy and sugar treats should be limited to 1 day a week, maybe you could bring that to the teacher and admin. But you're likely to be tagged as the problem mom, you'll have to see if you can live with that, and if Ava can. :([/QUOTE]

    I agree with you Lisa. Just as a general principle I think candy has no
    Place as an educational tool
  12. CAGrandma

    CAGrandma Approved members

    Mar 14, 2006
    Hey, maybe they could substitute peanuts? It's not like any child might have a problem with peanuts, right? (She said sarcastically).

    There is a serious health problem in our country with obesity. Too many people see food as a reward, and therefore 'reward' themselves by eating too much. Schools are fighting a problem with childhood obesity and the rise in type 2 diabetes in children - so they are limiting the availability of soda, fried foods and candy in the cafeteria.

    There are good reasons why a child with type 1 diabetes should not be using candy as a part of a lesson - and neither should any other child, really.
  13. bonniecrocker

    bonniecrocker New Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    You don't. Think about it. If your child didn't have diabetes would you seriously care that a teacher uses m&ms for charting? I know I wouldn't. My kids LOVE m&ms :)

    The teacher appears to be a bit insensitive but she's human and it is probably frustrating to have to be inconvenienced to simply want to use something she has probably used dozens of times before. Honestly, how many of us have thought how nice it would be to JUST eat and not have to count carbs for once? Of course, none of us would ever verbalize this to our child but it doesn't mean we don't have some of these same feelings ourselves sometimes. I think acknowledging that there are some inherent frustrations in this whole process, not just for the child, of course, but for the whole family and that includes people outside the family is important.

    The goal should be a win win for Ava and the teacher so it is important to approach this as a partnership. I would have thanked the teacher for calling me (even though it is required) and told her how much Ava loves m&ms and would be eager to participate but, of course, she would need to be taken to the nurse for a bs check and bolus. It may be that the teacher needs to know that you are appreciative of the fact that she is trying to accomodate your child even when it may be that she isn't at all. It can make all the difference in the world in how the conversation will end up. If the teacher perceived that you were antagonistic, no matter, how much you think the teacher might have deserved it based on her comments, then frustration ensues on both parts which is what happened.

    I wouldn't bother with trying to have the teacher change her methods. Do you really want the other children to find out that m&ms will no longer be used in the classroom because Ava has type 1 diabetes? That would be setting Ava up to be resented by her peers and probably by some of the children's parents which would be a lot worse than being excluded from eating some m&ms.

    Look for a win win for all. Be firm about your expectations that Ava will be included but that you appreciate the teacher's willingness to help you (even if it doesn't appear that she is willing). :cwds:

    I think if you approach it this way and take the upper road even when the teacher may still act sometimes like she is being put out, you will see an attitude change eventually. The bottom line is to do what is best for Ava and I would prefer the teacher's cooperation willingly and not because she has to because of some 504 plan.
  14. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    Yep. Our former school didn't allow any type of food for teaching, not because of diabetes, but because of multiple food allergies. Peanut, Celiac, tree nut, dairy. There are just way too many opportunities for contamination to occur. The school went to great lengths to educate the kids about the allergies and to be safe with the foods they brought in, so why mess that up.

    IMO, unless you are in a cooking class, there really is no need for food as a teaching tool. Buttons, pennies, rocks. Anything can be used to make a graph.

    Plus, why do kids have to be rewarded for everything? Oooh. Look at that. Johnny put all his M&M's in the correct spot. Yay! Now you get to eat it. :rolleyes: How about giving Johnny the challenge of a harder question as a reward?
  15. jcanolson

    jcanolson Approved members

    Apr 7, 2008
    My friend whose child has a life threatening p-nut allergy does not have M & M's in the house.... the old "made in a facility that processes" problem. The teacher may not realize that M & M's could pose a problem to other students.
  16. mmgirls

    mmgirls Approved members

    Nov 28, 2008
  17. MamaBear

    MamaBear Approved members

    Jul 20, 2010
    Me too. I see what Lisa is saying and think she is correct, the children view it as affection. But I am one of those moms who thinks it is absolutely ridiculous that our schools send home lists each month of the unhealthful foods that we as parents are not allowed to send in lunches, but then they allow the teachers to use skittles or M&Ms as rewards. My childhood schools never did that, we had beads or dried beans that went back into the container to be used for other lessons.

    To the OP I am sorry they are doing this. I agree with what Sarah said though. Be calm and remind her of the purpose of that 504. Good luck.
  18. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. Approved members

    May 19, 2008
    Oh, we got this too, they would send home a note about how we should feed our kids, then my kids got one average a piece of candy a day and the school lunches were all processed box foods, just junk.

    My favorite was the standardized tests, they sent home a note telling us to get our kids a good night's sleep and feed a protein breakfast, then after the test was over they gave them a bunch of candy! So my kid needs to be on top of things to take the test that evaluates school funding, but it's o.k. to wig her out and send her home!:p
  19. Mommy For Life

    Mommy For Life Approved members

    Aug 29, 2011
    DD had a teacher in first grade that gave candy out every day for the first month of school. Then on Fridays. When I asked her politely if there was an alternative "reward" she said she didnt have to give DD one, but would still give the other kids the sweets and DD could have a sticker! :mad: i was more than pissed! I'm just curious if schools would like to pay for the dental care of our kids? what happened to a good 'ol atta girl/boy and a pat on the back!?! :confused:
  20. lil'Man'sMom

    lil'Man'sMom Approved members

    Jan 8, 2008
    Joy - I am sorry that you are dealing with this.

    While I am not for using candy as a teaching tool, I am not against it either. I honestly think we, society as a whole, are restricting beyond need. We should educate on healthy eating, teaching moderation not just restriction (unless it is a major health risk).

    That being said... The 'kill'em with kindness' theory might be the best practice. Tell the teacher that you are concerned about using sugar in her lessons and this should be addressed, until then Ava will need the nurse to help her bolus for the candy and the teacher will need to facilitate that in advance.

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