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Food and Meal Program
Snacks and Lunch
Snacks and lunch are an important part of the DDE Center’s curriculum. The Food and Meal Program Teacher works to incorporate the cultural backgrounds and preferred tastes of the children into the menus. Families are encouraged to share favorite recipes so that all children will have a favorite menu item on occasion. We serve a variety of healthy foods with a focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Nutritious morning and afternoon snacks are offered to all children between 9 and 10 a.m. and 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Snacks help refuel the children and are not sufficient as a substitute for breakfast or lunch. Junior Preschool, Senior Preschool, and Kindergarten eat lunch in our Food and Meal Classroom. Lunch is served at 11:30 for Junior Preschool, 12:00 for Senior Preschool, and 12:30 for Kindergarten Care. Snack and lunch menus are posted outside each classroom. Food is never used as a reward, incentive, or punishment at the DDE Center.
Family Style Service
All meals and snacks at the DDE Center are served family style. Teachers eat with the children encouraging conversations and appropriate eating. This is a social time for children and helps them strengthen relationships with other children and adults. During the school year Junior and Senior Preschoolers are joined by the Sound Beginnings students to promote social interaction and language development. Meal times are also a time for learning. Children develop self-help skills (setting the tables, serving themselves, pouring milk, and helping with clean up) and they learn about the importance of nutrition in building healthy bodies.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
We participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through the USDA which requires children have access to specific food groups and serving sizes. By following CACFP guidelines we ensure that children receive appropriate servings of protein, dairy, grains, and fruits and vegetables. Families will be asked to complete a form for the CACFP program upon enrollment and annually.
Family Choice in Feeding
The DDE Center will support families in their choices for feeding their children, especially infants. The DDE Center will work with families to support and accommodate adherence to dietary restrictions, food allergies, or dietary preferences. In some cases accommodating all dietary needs may be difficult and families may be asked to supplement food for their child’s meal. Families are encouraged to speak with the food and meal teacher or the program administrator if they have any concerns about the food being served. The DDE Center also encourages family input in meals and snacks. Families are encouraged to share favorite or special recipes to be included in our menu rotations.
The DDE Center works to support breast feeding mothers to maintain breast feeding while their child is in care. The infant/toddler classroom is equipped with a separate room for families wishing to feed their child or needing to pump while on campus. In addition, all staff are trained to handle breast milk in a safe manner. Breast milk being brought from home must be labeled with the child’s name and the date and time the breast milk was collected. According to state licensing, staff must discard breast milk within 24 hours of collection or thawing. Breast milk can be kept frozen for two weeks in the classroom freezer. After a feeding any remaining breast milk is discarded to prevent bacteria growth. Information and resources to support breastfeeding are available in the infant and toddler classroom. DDE Center staff is happy to work with parents to coordinate feedings.