From the Food Policy Committee
The number of students with life threatening allergies to food is increasing in the general population and here at Zervas. The incidence of childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. And finally, teaching children about healthy food choices is an important part of their education. To address these concerns, Zervas formed a Food Policy Committee in the spring of 2003. The committee is comprised of parents, teachers, the principal and the school nurse. Temporary measures were established for September 2003 until a permanent district policy was recommended in 2004.
- No sharing or trading of food
- Eliminate the use of food for rewards and class celebrations including birthdays
- In classes where children have food allergies, request that foods including those products not be brought into the classroom
- If appropriate, cluster incoming kindergarten students with life threatening allergies for that year only
- Continue class breakfast celebrations and recommend that the menu be limited to bagels (nut free), fruit, juice and milk. Families should be informed in advance that a food celebration is planned.
Grade level breakfasts are a great way to highlight the work that children are doing in their classrooms. Their schoolwork is displayed and sometimes, small performances are planned. These breakfasts also provide a chance for parents to come together, share a snack and build a sense of community. The limiting of food items is intended to encourage healthy food choices for children, and to reduce the risk of a food allergic child being exposed to an allergic food. Advance notification is very important for families with children with food allergies so that they can be prepared to oversee their children's food selections.