Food and Parties: My Debbie Downer Philosophy

It is almost that time of the year again.  Celebrations for Valentine's Day (or something cleverly disguised as such).  Some of you may dislike me for this stance.  But, I can't stand celebrations in the classroom that include food.  Why? Let's make this simple.

Childhood obesity.  Diabetes.  Food allergies.  Food intolerance and sensitivities.  Celiac Disease.  Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Someone is going to be left-out.  And that someone is going to be a kid who is alienated all the time at birthday parties, family gatherings, most restaurants and just about every theme park on the planet.  Why do they need to feel left-out again in our classrooms?

Join me in saying "No" to food in our classrooms for celebrations.  Save the food stuff for at home.  Instead, say "Yes" to alternative celebratory activities:
  • Hat day!
  • Pajama day!
  • Crazy hair day!
  • Backwards clothing day!
  • Read your favorite story or magazine day!
  • Bring your iPod, iTouch and headphones to school day!
  • Bring a special person to school day!
  • Reverse schedule day!
  • Silly music day!
  • Awesome music day!
  • Pirate day!
  • You get the drift day!
I don't mean to be Debbie Downer, I am just so tired of our kids having to feel alienated one more time, in a place that should be inclusive - our classrooms.

Join me - please!


PS - If you must include food in your classroom, make the food decoration, yes?  Little O and I made this from this tutorial in about 1.5 hours.  We both have the hot glue gun marks to prove it.


  1. Great idea to use food to make a decoration! Although I love the idea of taking junk food out of the classroom, I still think there is a place for food in the classroom. Teaching children about nutrition and how to cook was one of my favorite parts of being a prek teacher :) I think as teachers we need to be more aware of how food effects the children in our classroom.

  2. Carrie - I think you are on to something. We can keep food in our classrooms as long as teachers can educate our kids about nutrition, food selection, effects of food, consideration of others, etc. I don't think that is a skill set most educators have, but not impossible to obtain. Why don't YOU blog about that?

    You'd be the perfect person to start such a resource.

    :) Jen

  3. I recently met a young woman with Celiac Disease, and hadn't considered how difficult life had been for her both in and out of the classroom in her youth. There are times that students are rewarded with "Pizza" parties or other celebrations that most definitely include foods that can be detrimental to the health of at least one student. I hadn't considered the awesome alternatives!

    I believe parents would be as excited about these types of celebrations that everyone could participate in. Granted, I agree with the suggestion in educating children about nutrition, food selection, effects of food, consideration of others, alternatives (even when inviting classmates to sleepovers or other outings). Great topic (and suggestions), indeed!

    T. Greene FA 2011

  4. As stated in class, now if a teacher was to have a party all the food is to be bought at the store and packaged until opened in class. I think that is a good idea if you are insistent on having a party. Personally, I think I'm going to take Prof. Lara's view and not have food parties because I don't want to make anyone feel out and I also DO NOT want a child to die because of something I fed them! Yikes, that's be terrible.

    Zoe Nardo

  5. :( I hardly ever disagree with you, but I must say I do. I get what you are saying about kids feeling left out, I really do, but I feel like independent struggles help shape you as a person. If everything is always fair and equal, how do you grow? Should we cancel PE because one child in the class is disabled and unable to participate?No- we find alternatives for them. I instead am saddened that everything must be purchased at the store and moms can no longer get that joy of making and serving homemade treats or the kid gets to say "My Mom made that!" When growing up, we too had kids with allergies etc but these kids knew what they could or could not eat and it was never ever a big deal. My daughter's friend has severe diabetes and just always brought her own snacks-no biggie. I think we should celebrate differences and stop trying to make everything fair all the time at the expense of the tiny moments that bring kids joy like a pizza party! Who cares if they eat junk one day? After seeing what they serve in the cafeteria everyday, I think pizza is even more balanced. I am all for nurturing and having a fair shot, but I do not believe in the "trophies for everyone" theory or the no pizza party theory. If the rest of your life is balanced, then its a treat! nothing wrong with that. And the kids that can't eat pizza get to bring their own special treat that the others don't have!-sorry, rant over :)

  6. I have learned a lot in your class this semester. Mostly, the NO-FOOD in the classroom! Due to allergies are at high rate right now! Especially, peanut allergies!! There are many ways to do a theme party that doesn't need to related to food in the classroom! I think a lot of the younger students would love to "Bring a special person to school day!" Since younger students love to show off the person they love the most!
    -Stephanie K.

  7. I agree with you on this! It truly isn't fair for children to feel left out in the classroom where that is the one place we as teachers are trying to make them come together. I think if it is a situation where all the children can be included, fine. Although, if it is not an attainable for each child to participate then it would be just as well to do without the food!

    -Carrie W.