Birthdays are special days for all of us, especially children. Often children enjoy celebrating with their school friends by bringing in a treat to share. This year, Highlands is working to implement the District Wellness policy by asking families to only send healthy snacks or treats on birthdays. Last year we worked on sharing ideas for happy and healthy celebrations by sending a pamphlet with ideas home with each child during their birthday month. Our hope is that by informing parents from the start of school everyone will be able to work with us to keep our school day healthy and nutritious.
We have several reasons for working to promote wellness and healthy eating on our campus. We know that too many sweet snacks can make children overweight and can cause cavities. In a class of 33 or more students we sometimes see treats come in three and four times a week which is not good for their health. Overweight children have a greater chance of becoming overweight adults which can lead to many health problems such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Joint problems
- Some types of cancer
In addition, as we work with students toward achieving proficiency in all academic areas we acknowledge that time is limited. We don't have enough time in our instructional day to stop instruction to celebrate every child's birthday. Our PTA is working to host a birthday lunch table where students who are celebrating a birthday in a certain month will be invited to sit at the birthday table for their special day. This year we are also facing the challenge of reduced cleaning staff so teachers are being asked to refrain from having food in their classrooms.
If you feel it is important to send in a food type treat we ask that you send a healthy treat like fruit kabobs, sliced apples or oranges, yogurt parfaits, frozen Go Gurts, low fat muffins, sliced vegetables and dip, pretzels etc... Instead of sending in a food treat you can also consider sending an age appropriate party favor like stickers, crayons, balls, or small toys. The dollar stores are great places to find inexpensive toys. One other idea is to purchase a book your child loves to read and donate it to the classroom or school library with a birthday message in honor of your child written in the front cover.
Please help us maintain a healthy school environment by keeping birthdays nutritious here at school. If you have questions, please ask your child's teacher. You can look for the pamphlet on healthy celebrations here on our website under the parent tab.