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Thread: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mummy!

  1. #1
    JaneSky's Avatar
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    Cool Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mummy!

    My boys (4, 8 and 10 yrs) have been vegetarian from birth, they are the ONLY vegetarians in the school (gosh, as far as I know, we might be the only four veggies in the village!), and they are now (since we've discovered the truth about dairy/egg production) cutting down their dairy/egg intake, with the goal of becoming vegan like me. The older boys understand why, and have actively chosen to do this, the 4y/o (a picky eater, with a stubborn, rebellious streak!) is going to take a bit longer to adjust his tastes - but I would much rather he took a little longer to make a long-term (hopefully lifelong), happy, healthy transition, than trying to push him too hard and have him rebel.

    I went into school with them this morning, as they go to breakfast club, and I spoke to the dinner lady. She was always very accomodating of their vegetarianism when they were having school lunches (they take packed lunch now for financial reasons), and she seemed just as helpful and supportive of them phasing out milk and butter at breakfast club! My 8y/o will take his cereal with straight soya milk (at least the alpro original), but the 10 y/o and 4y/o have been taking it 50/50 with dairy milk at home to adjust to the taste gradually - she seemed to understand, and be happy to do that! They're all happy enough with the vegan margarine, so that's easy... My only concerns now are milk in the classroom for the 4y/o (the school is going to order soya milk, but he may not like it!), and whether the brand that they order in is as palatable as the alpro anyway (there's so much variation isn't there?). I left a bottle of alpro, and a tub of vegan marg with her for them to use this week, and she said she'll let me know tomorrow what brand she's able to order so I can try them with it at home too!

    My 10y/o has had some unpleasant comments (bullying?) from his classmates about being a vegetarian (not that it's detered him from his convictions), so I intend to keep a close eye, I think it was just used as ammunition by kids who would have been mean even if he was omni, but I know it upset him... As far as I'm aware the younger ones have not had any negative reactions about being vegetarian, so hopefully this won't be too different.

    When I was in primary school, I was the only vegetarian in a small sheep/cow farming community, my 'vegetarian' option often involved the dinner lady picking the lumps of meat out of my bowl of stew at the table in front of me - needless to say I always felt sick on those days, and was unable to eat my dinner! I know there's still a long way to go, but things have moved on!

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Loads of people live in different diets, for health/relgious etc. reasons. Bringing up a kid as a vegan isn't difficult, but one may come across some people who say things like "I know you don't eat meat, but I hope it's OK that he eat meat when he's with us" (!), which is easily solved by explaining why it's not OK.

    I think learning, without really trying, that it's OK to be different is one of the most important, positive side effects of being a vegan kid. The least thing I'd like my kids to believe, from childhood, is that they aren't OK unless they are/eat/behave etc. as similar as possible to 'most people'. Even if I wouldn't have been a vegan, I'd emphasize, as a parent, that kids aren't meant to copy their friends or parents or anyone else - or their viewpoints/taste in music/food/clothes and so on.

    But my sons teacher in the class where they learn to cook (what's that class called in English again?) seems OK - if the class is going to make pancakes, she tells us ahead and asks for a vegan pancake recipe. A lot has changed over the last 20-30 years, and the positive change towards eg. a vegan lifestyle is accelerating.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    That sounds like great progress, Jane. Wonderful that the dinner lady is so accommodating.

    I do agree about the importance of learning to value difference, too.

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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Janesky That's really good to know. I went veggie at the age of 8 and didn't really know anyone else who was veggie. I don't remember being picked on much at school but I did get lots of criticism at church - my parents are pentecostal christians. I remember I went on a holiday with the school and it was awful the people who ran the place tried to make me eat meat. They had no comprehension of what a vegetarian was. That was over 30 years ago now. Anyway it didn't put me off and made me more determined. So hopefully your children will be the same.

    I remember very well the meat being taken out of things like stews and pasties. I ended up having packed lunches, there were no vegetarian options in those days. (God, I sound like my grandmother) Thank goodness things have improved.

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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Hi there, my two five year olds are vegans, the only ones I think in the reception year and possibly the school!. Fortunately there have been no negative comments from their peers but you wouldn't expect that at their age. I know there are quite a few vegetarians in their school for allergy and religous reasons. Tuck time drinks are a choice of water,milk or squash so my boys have the water option and orange juice at lunch time. In their class , they both have a vegan treat box when the children bring birthday treats to school which always consists of certain dairy chocolate recommended by the school because of allergies! They have packed lunches now but The school was very accomodating when my boys had school meals and after a discussion with the catering manager ordered all the appropriate alternatives apart from the Friday pizza day when I supplied the vegan cheese. So I think things have improved alot , but it would be great if the vegan philosophy could be embraced more in schools, afterall it forms part of the curiculum and values with diversity, respect, enviromental, healthy eating etc. Im hoping to arrange for a school speaker from the vegan society to do a talk at the school during the healthy eating week so its a good starting point.....!

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    JaneSky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Hmm... I posted too soon.

    The boys made the transition to fully vegan before the middle of February, I informed their class teachers and the Catering staff verbally and in writing... The Soya milk (a full month in materialising) was unpalatable, and they were unreliable about serving the right milk to the boys, so they've ended up having breakfast at home.

    Pancake day they fed my 4y/o 'normal' pancakes, my 10y/o had to make pancakes in class, but refused to eat them, and luckily my 8y/o was told his class were making them the following day, so I knew to send in vegan ingredients for him...

    My 8y/o forgot his packed lunch a few weeks ago, and the school phoned me to ask what he could have from the school canteen (I wasn't able to get back to take him his lunch box)... Over the phone we agreed that beans with mashed potato (no butter/milk) was available. I confirmed that that they knew he was not to have meat, fish, milk or egg products, then thought nothing more about it... They gave him a cheese sandwich.

    A number of other problems with the school, ranging from discouraging us from allowing the 4y/o to learn to read in English at home because Welsh is considered more important, to refusing to allow my 8y/o who they know has always had bladder and bowel urgency issues to use the toilet - then leaving him in wet clothes all afternoon, not to mention failing to tell us about bullying (which my son gave up reporting after telling staff that reporting it was making it worse, and finding that they weren't willing to take it seriously), and the office losing all emergency contact information for the boys (then being rude to me because they had struggled to contact me), forcing them to pray despite having been informed that I'm willing for them to (respectfully) remain silent during the collective act of Christian worship (I didn't want to withdraw them from assembly as I'm all for them learning tollerance and learning ABOUT religion, as long as their own beliefs or lack thereof are respected), have left us extremely angry. I ended up telling them that had our veganism been due to religious belief they would have respected it, but that non-religious convictions were being disregarded as unimportant which was just as prejudiced as religious discrimination...

    We have come to the end of the line with that school, and, in the absence of acceptable alternatives are considering home-educating...

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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Hi Jane, so sorry to hear you are having a rough time of it with the school , this is totally unacceptable and discrimminative. I wonder have you contacted the LEA ?also the vegan society can give you some good advice ( sorry if I have stated the obvious). They fed your children pancakes and cheese when you have specifically stated to them your childs dietry requirments? - this school obviously needs some educating on what vegans eat! Im sure if they had been allergic to any of these products or excluded them due to religious beliefs , you can be sure this would not have happened! Leaving your child in wet clothes and disregarding bullying issues!! This is all beyond belief- this school sounds as though it needs taking to task. My boys do no have RE at the moment but as parents we have chosen, like you, not to exclude them from this despite are non-relious beliefs too , in showing respect for other religions and bringing our children up to be tolerant and open minded. So once again the school have disrespected and discimminated against your wishes for your children. I know how angry you must feel , I certainly would not want my children to be in this enviroment with such unacceptable attitudes. Dont you just wish there could be such a thing as Vegan Schools- that would be heaven on earth! Jane you sound a wonderful mum with alot of integrity, and certainly do not deserve to be treated with such disregard and disrespect and I really hope you get the resolution you deserve..... It is so unfair that we have to battle where are vegan beliefs are concerned and put up with so much discrimmination, it certainly would not be tolerated in other parts of society.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Yes, sorry to hear that Jane.

    You might be able to work on the food thing but some of the other things are worrying too, for example the bullying point and losing the emergency contact info. I'm afraid I have zero relevant experience but I have read advice sites with suggestions of how to pursue bullying complaints, e.g. http://www.bullying.co.uk/advice/par...make-complaint

    Hope they pull their socks up as, even if you decide to homeschool, other children must be affected by some of these things :-/

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    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Well, if you are willing to homeschool then making yourself unpopular with the administration is no longer daunting...
    We HS over here but remember with some fondness stained with disappointment our reception and 1st yr school experience, state then C of E (which made no difference in religious/cultural outlook).

    Probably will give it another go when we return. I have always asked my daughter how far to push on her behalf: being troublesome can impact kids the wrong way, sadly. My guiding principle is to do what I can to make things better for the long run -balancing that out with real immediate needs isn't easy!

    Good luck in any direction you choose.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    My daughter is 12 now and is brand new to being vegan and was raised thus far a meat eater. My husband and I decided we were tired of feeling awful emotionally and physically and have adopted the vegan lifestyle. My daughter has had quite a bit of conflict with this and packing lunch is her ONLY way to have food not completely loaded with meat eggs and milk. They send home a monthly menu and there is nothing on any day that will provide her with more than an apple to eat. Her friends seem to think its cool and are interested but the teachers (whom I thought would be better) are telling her she will not get what she needs i.e. protein, calcium, vitamin D without milk and meat.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Chrissy,

    That's awesome that your daughter is vegan now! (and you too!). I don't have children myself but I feel for her with the school lunches. I work at a medical complex and you would think at least there they would be sensitive to food allergies and health issues. But their menu at all three cafeterias are horrible and EVERYTHING is loaded with chicken broth, butter, dairy, meat, honey (including their breads and vegetables). Luckily they at least have a salad bar. I almost always just pack my own lunch though, never eat there. But I am going to write a letter to the directer of Nutrition services about offering more vegan/vegetarian options and also mention the food allergy stuff too as they might go for that more than the vegan diet.
    It just burns me that those teachers preach to your daughter about nutrition when I am willing to bet a lot of kids are eating sugared cereal or pop tarts for breakfast and junk for lunch and I will bet they don't get questioned about their diet. Ugh. At least children are usually more open minded to alternatives.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Primary school supporting my childrens' shift towards veganism! = Happy Mumm

    Robinwomb, It's so true about accepting the junk and never saying anything to the kids eating a egg and sausage and cheese bagel for like 700 calories and a ton of fat and wash it down with a coke. But us vegans really have to be careful because our scrambled tofu with veggies and water is just awful (ha).

    I'm really glad to hear that you are fighting for the same respect to the vegan diet in your medical complex. I am pursing a nursing degree now in hopes of inspiring more people to choose food for medicine and stop medicating themselves to eat pain and suffering of the human and non human kind!

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