I gave up a piece of my momma-worries-about-everything-we-eat
control thing the other day and let the girls make their own lunches. I figured they really cant go wrong when there is nothing in the house that I wouldn’t put in their lunches anyway. Here’s the thing. They are begging for me to let them make their lunch. They are craving the control and independence. I can’t say no to that.
Of course the end result was that by Day 3 they packed exactly what I would have prepared anyway. You know why? Because as they told their dad, ‘Mummy trusts me to make my lunch’.
Here’s the main reason they packed a healthy lunch: The kids at their school have really attentive parents that ensure THEIR kids have healthy lunches. The peer pressure to have a good lunch seems to be a social norm at our school and I’m happy to watch them blaze their food creativity trails within it.
So, thank you to the other parental lunch-packers who create healthy lunches. You are not only benefitting your own child’s immunity, cellular health, brain functioning. You are a co-creator of an environment that demonstrates the value of what we put into our bodies. Your lunch packing is a political statement. A valuing of health and vitality.
I must mention that the teachers support the kids in making their own lunches. Not just support them, but they tell them they SHOULD BE making their own lunches in Grade 4. Maybe even Grade 3. There is a craving for independence that the teachers tap into. I’m also happy to announce that I will never again have to feed our cat because ‘Mummy, that my job that Ms. P says I should be doing.” Right on.
I’ve had something else on my mind lately. We’ve officially been at The London Waldorf School for one year. What I’ve experienced as ‘alternative education’, (read: alternative to the public system not hippy centre for the arts), has far exceeded my expectations. I thought I was opting OUT of the public system. I breathed a sigh of relief because what I had seen and heard was quite disheartening. What I was seeing was children who are not particularly excited about learning. Children who memorize. Children who will be on ‘individualized learning plans’ for their school careers through university. Children who need expensive after-school tutoring. Children who are missing some of what I consider to be fundamental social and practical skills including how to just BE outside. In the rain, faces tilted to the sky. I hadn’t really thought as much about our alternative as opting IN to something. I have to now say that I’m amazed.
I’m amazed at what we have opted into because it is so much more than ‘not the government created curriculum’. They learn to read, write, do math beyond what is standard in public school. They learn science in a way that is hands on and so they retain it. Objectors gonna object. And they do. They object to the pace of Waldorf teachings (formal pressure to read doesn’t start until grade 3 although most students have gained a large pre-reading base by then). It’s also about HOW they learn what we think they should know. They learn it in a beautiful way, in full colour, with tons of art.
Perhaps I will see some chinks in the armour in years to come. This is where we are at now. To hear the girls come home and tell me things that they have learned makes my heart sing. It sings a tune like this: “Holy crow I can’t believe they taught you that! Confidence in artistic expression, times tables beyond my quick recollection and wielding a hammer together at last alallaalala!”
And we are so lucky and blessed. We are lucky we found it and blessed to be able to make the cash ends meet that allows this gift. Turns out that is flexible too. Look into it.
Also, kids bring quinoa salad and whole mangoes to school.