Is school food junk food?
When I was at school - which seems both long ago, and not long ago at all - the food was generally filling, stodgy, and rewarding to childish appetites - that is, not healthy at all, in general. Some things don't change. School food today, is, in many places, just as worrisome - perhaps more so.
Yesterday, Fintan went on a school trip. He enjoys these for they give him a chance to see the wider world in operation. His school seems particularly fond of these external activities and not a month passes by without its quota of such visits to places of all kinds.
After he had come home, he enthused about what he had eaten. "I had bread with sugar on it...and french fries." he told us.
I couldn't quite believe what he had said, but I didn't need to ask him to repeat it - for he did so anyway. I think he knew these were things we would not feed him - and so, in this context, they were a kind of treat.
We raised the matter with his school since I, for one, was concerned that this might constitute his daily diet, at that school.
"Today? Oh, when they go on a trip - the teacher makes sure they have a snack."
There are many snacks in the world - but I am not sure that "bread with sugar on it" qualifies as reasonable food for a child - or an adult or even animal for that matter. Some things just should not be eaten - and something so evidently lacking in nutritional wisdom is one of them.
There is a readily available snack, that is lightweight, portable, nutritious - and, in this part of the world, at least, inexpensive. It is called a piece of fruit. Why don't schools think - really think - of the health of their charges and organize a little trip to the supermarket, before any such school trip, so that teachers don't end up buying the kids plastic, empty, life-threatening junk foods?
It mystifies me, that after so many decades and so many generations of protest about school foods - that they should still consist of the most unhealthy choices available, in many places.
I have never eaten "bread with sugar on it" in my life - and I don't see why my four year old child should be fed it while under the care of his school. That sentiment applies to the French fries, too.
The last thing a parent wants is for the school to instil in the child, a taste for junk food. Such a hankering can become a lifelong desire - with disastrous consequences for the child (who will thus become an unhealthy, short-lived adult).
Schools should understand that they have greater responsibilities than just the education of their students: they need to attend to their health and happiness, too.
(If you would like to read more of Fintan, four years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, seven years and eight months, and Tiarnan, eighteen months, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted children and gifted adults in general. Thanks.)