Sunday, June 07, 2009

Kindergarten Field Trip to the Dairy Farm...Seriously

Sorry for not blogging for a while...I got a little busy with some other stuff. I know; lame excuse.

My last entry teased about the upcoming field trip to a local dairy farm. Andrew is quite an outspoken boy which, when combined with a ... shall we say "fully developed and operational imagination", makes for some interesting sound bites. Leading up to the field trip, his Kindergarten teacher started talking about nutrition, and how eating foods from the "dairy group" was a good way to get vitamins and minerals children's growing bodies need. One of my favourite exchanges went something like,

Teacher: How many servings of dairy should we have per day class?

Andrew: (hand frantically extended skyward) NONE!

Teacher: Well, for you Andrew, that's correct ... awkward pause ... anyone else know how many servings the rest of the class should have? (questioning glance/glare directed at Andrew's Dad standing at the rear of the class)

Dad: (impish shrug directed to Teacher and "atta-boy" smile directed to Andrew)

Andrew was a little nervous leading up to the field trip because he
was concerned they would all be tied down and force fed dairy products or something. Has anyone seen that in an episode of Pokemon, Batman or Bakugan? Where does he come up with this stuff?

Anyway, we met up at the school and parents drove the kids out to the farm, about 15 minutes away where we met up again. We were shown a video about the nutritional benefits of milk, introduced to the cows and shown the milking equipment. Given it is spring, there were many calves there too. At this farm, after a period, the calves are taken from their mothers and kept in a separate pen. I have to confess, I found this a little sad, and I'm by no means "granola", but that's pretty much 180° from what my wife and I did with our kids...I know, they're "just cows", but one Mom nearly cried when she heard they took the calves away. I think it's to keep the cows' milk for the dairy production.

Through the tour, Andrew maintained his detached curiosity about the farm, and enjoyed looking at the cows and chickens (they collect eggs there too).

Overall, Andrew enjoyed the trip, and learned about cows and how a farm works, so it was a worthwhile trip. The following week, the teacher showed the kids how to turn whipping cream into butter by churning it by hand. I sent Andrew to school with his own crackers and some of his non-dairy margarine. The teacher put those together for him separately and he was able to eat with the other kids, and eat what they were eating ... sort of. I like to try and give him a similar food to what the class eats when they do something like this.

I was looking at that link I've provided for the margarine. That's not the label we get here in Canada. Ours has quite clearly across the front that it's "Lactose Free", and in smaller print that it's Kosher. It's also a yellow label rather than the red that is shown. I also noticed that the link provided indicates it: is "lactose free" in the description, has no milk or anything like it in the ingredients, and the warnings section indicates it may contain milk. Hmmm ... probably best if I say nothing.

So, the school year is winding down now. We've got Sports Day coming up, but the Kindergarteners only do a half-day there, and my wife and I will both be there to watch, so we should be able to control the food there. Next September, Andrew starts Grade 1 ... they're in school all day and bring their own lunch. That's a whole different challenge, but we've got all summer to gear up for that.

Thanks for reading, more news as it comes available.