Dear School Principal
My son has just completed kindergarten at your school. He is not yet 6 years old. Over the past 2 weeks leading up to the end of the school year, he has recieved some lovely Christmas wishes from many of the children in his class. Most of these Christmas wishes have come in the form of a card and what many people call a “treat”. This has resulted in him receiving the equivalent of 350gms of candy canes and in excess of 120gms of chocolate.
And that’s just what I know about! He and his brother have an understanding with us that they will bring home any food they are given at school, and my husband and I can help them to decide if they should eat it or not, so thankfully he has not eaten all of this.
His brother who is 8 years old, whilst not receiving quite as much candy, has also had an excess of food coming from the school over these last couple of weeks, including a class party on the last day of school, just in case the children weren’t going to get enough to eat over the Christmas period.
My six year old’s haul of goodies yields the following:
350 gms candy cane: 1400 kilocalories (yes, kilocalories, not kilojoules)
120 gms chocolate: approx 600 kilocalories.
That is a total of 2000 kilocalories, well in excess of the recommended daily energy intake for an average adult female! What’s even more scary is that for the most part, if kids are eating this stuff, they are eating it over and above their other food. Let’s face it, a candy cane or two certainly doesn’t fill you up like a nutritious bowl of lentil caserole and brown rice would!
To balance out the extra energy a child would take in if they ate 2000 calories, they would have to not eat for at least a day and a half, or do the following exercise over and above their current exercise levels, during the 2 week period they were consuming the sweets:
- 2 hrs of cycling
- 2 hrs of running
- 3 hrs of walking
No six year old is going to do either of the things necessary to counteract the extra calorie intake. We don’t expect our kids to stop eating for a day and a half to two days, nor do we expect them to exercise for an EXTRA 7 hours over and above what they normally do in a two week period. Mine already run/jump/cycle/surf/swim themselves ragged.
So what’s the solution?
This is a request for you to show leadership on this matter and implement a policy which greatly restricts the amount of food children are given in our wonderful school. That would mean:
- Eliminating food to be sold as fund raising
- Moving Australia’s biggest morning tea to actually be at morning tea time, rather than before school, meaning kids have breakfast, cake and cordial at 9am, fruit break morning tea, lunch etc
- Celebrate childrens’ birthdays withouth bringing in cupcakes
- Sweet free lunch boxes
- An overhaul of the canteen menu
- Eliminate the practice of teachers giving children food as reward for good work or good behaviour – I was totally surprised about this one
This is a very hastily written note which only touches on the surface of my concerns and ideas for what we, as a school community could do to turn things around, so I would be very pleased to discuss this further with you.
Wow – what an eye-opener
If you have concerns about how much food your kids get at school, add your voice below!