Dear Princeton Public Schools Families,
Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Princeton Public Schools will be taking a more active role in promoting, supporting and modeling healthy eating habits for our students. We recognize our children love to celebrate their birthdays with treats for their peers and teachers; on the other hand, we also recognize we have a tremendous opportunity to promote healthy behaviors and to show students how to enjoy special days without making food or toys the focus of the celebration. For that reason, we will no longer allow students to distribute treats or trinkets on their birthdays.
There are many reasons for this change. Here is a brief and not all-inclusive summary:
- Our School Board has a very clear policy on our district’s commitment to wellness and educating children about healthy choices and physical fitness. The volume of treats our young learners currently receive at school goes directly against that policy.
- Food allergies and diabetes have increased and continue to grow more complicated. It has grown virtually impossible to monitor all food that comes into the school and who has contact with it. This presents a very real safety concern for a large number of our students.
- While many parents enjoy that their child can have a sugary treat at school, there are also many parents who would like more control over what their child eats. This group often feels frustrated with the volume of sugary treats given out at school.
- Equity and expense can also be a concern as some families are not able to provide treats for their child on birthdays or special days because of financial hardship.
We will continue to have school-wide celebrations such as festivals, holiday parties and school carnivals where we will continue to share nutritious snacks as well as some treat foods. We will encourage moderation during these times. The choices will be monitored and spread throughout the year.
Children embrace being recognized by their peers and teachers for special occasions, and our new practices will ensure the focus of our celebrations is on the student and not the treat. We invite our school community to join us in our efforts to promote healthy, life-long, and nutritional habits in our students. As we embrace this new birthday celebration procedure, each classroom will select activities to celebrate the student.
Thank you for your support as we move to this new system of celebrating birthdays. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.
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