A major part of your child’s healthy development comes from nutritious meals. We follow nutritional and food safety guidelines for children’s development. We also strive to include a variety of foods from multiple cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Cost: All meals are included in your child’s tuition. Tuition remains the same whether you participate in our meal program or choose to pack your child’s snacks and lunch. No discounts are given for providing your own food or beverages.
Meals offered: For full-day students, a morning snack, lunch meal, and afternoon snack is provided. For half-day students, only the morning snack is provided. We do not offer breakfast at this time. A snack consists of three parts of the four different food groups–(1) Protein / dairy (2) Grains (3) Fruit or Vegetable (4) Vegetable–while a meal, such as lunch, consists of all four parts.
Beverages offered: We offer organic, lactose-free 1% milk and water with snacks and meals. Almond milk is available as an alternative. If we serve a smoothie or juice, it is limited to four ounces per serving. No soda is ever served. Filtered water is offered throughout the day. Flavor packets for water may not be sent to school. Sometimes we may offer, an an option, water that has been made with slices of cucumber, mint, lemon, etc.
Food and menus: To the greatest extent possible, food is fresh, organic, seasonal, and uses whole grains and natural meats. Monthly menus are provided in advance. Depending on availability, some menu items may be substituted for a similar food group. We also try to incorporate food we grow from our organic garden on site.
Serving and preparation: Food is prepared on-site or is catered by restaurants. Children may sometimes be included in different stages of meal preparation. Staff has gone through accredited, professional training in nutrition and safe food-handling preparation. For meals, children are provided with utensils needed for the particular meal, a napkin, a plate, and an open cup for milk or juice. Each child is given their own water cup that has a spill-free top and built in straw. All kitchenware is sterilized between uses except for individual water bottles, which are sterilized at the end of the day and remain on site. The kitchen area and equipment used is cleaned and disinfected daily.
Mealtime: Snacks and meals are a time for the group to gather, including teachers and caregivers who eat with the children. Polite manners and table etiquette is encouraged. Children will remain at the table with the group until the majority of others have finished or meal-time is over (whichever is first). Meal times are 15-minutes for snacks and 30-minutes for a meal (breakfast/lunch/dinner). Children may have a second portion/helping of their choice as long as all of their food has been eaten. Children are never forced or coerced into eating. If a child has eaten less than half of any meal or snack or has not had at least four ounces of water that day, a note is made on or attached to your child’s attendance sheet for your information.
Holidays and festivities: We provide a variety of food from around the world and celebratory foods for nearly every holiday and cultural festivity. Please let us know if you would like to add your heritage events to our calendar and share the important traditions you have at home. Food during these events may include a small portion of “sweets” that are traditionally served.
Treats and sweets: Occasionally, for a special celebration or activity, a small amount of treats may be provided. You will be notified ahead of time that sweets will be served. An example would be a cupcake for a birthday party, a candy or piece of chocolate during an Easter Egg hunt or Valentine’s Day party, making sweet pumpkin juice for Halloween, or homemade popsicles in the summer.
- NUTS: This facility may have and serve products that contain nuts; to reiterate, we are NOT nut free (sorry).
- SOY: We do NOT serve edamame, tempeh, tofu, or other soy bean products; however, we are not a soy free facility because there may be soy-based ingredients in foods and sauces on hand.
- SHELLFISH AND FISH: No shellfish is given to the children, but fish is served.
- GLUTEN: If your child has celeriac-disease or a major gluten intolerance, we can work together with the menu to coordinate which meals are served by us and which are provided by you.
- DAIRY: Allergies and intolerance vary by product and amount, so we will coordinate with you about the menu or options to find the right solutions for your child. We serve lactose-free, organic milk anyway, but you may provide your own milk and other alternative products to be served per the plan we collaborate on.
- MISC./OTHER ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCE: Please contact us to discuss any concerns of questions you have about other issues or those not covered here.
- If there is a life-threatening food allergy your child has, an EPIpen (Epinephrine) must be provided and have a current prescription (not expired) and be prescribed directly to the child. An authorization to use the medication must also be provided.
Religious and Ethical Practices:
We respect and support your right to practice your lifestyle choices and will do our best to accommodate your child’s food plan. Because religions and ethical practices have many interpretations and differences, we will work with you one-on-one to figure out the right meal plan for your child.
Food from home:
Family Child Care Homes and Centers are more regulated than public schools, which means that even food from home must meet certain criteria: (1) food from home must be labeled with your child’s name (either on a package or lunchbox), (2) must have proper nutritional requirements for a meal met (snack has to have 3 different food group servings and lunch must have servings from four food groups (grains, meat/dairy (protein), vegetable, vegetable or fruit), (3) and it must not contain high-sugar treats such as soda or candy. These standards are per California’s licensing requirements. If these requirements are not meant, we would have to exclude/substitute/provide the missing/inadequate portion per the menu item for that week.
Besides the above criteria, the food from home must not require cooking or food prep because the facility and time for meal prep is reserved for the school menu items. If you forget to send your child lunch and/or snacks, we will default to the the food offered that day per the menu with consideration to the health information sheet you provide upon registration. We cannot deny your child food, so while late drop-off of a lunch is okay, it has to be within the standard serving time of meals or a substitute meal or snack will be provided to your child.
To provide children with an equitable experience, all birthdays are handled in the same fashion: Decorations and food is provided by Avalon only–sorry, no exceptions. Each child is given a cupcake to decorate and eat. The birthday boy/girl is given a cupcake with candles and we all sing Happy Birthday. Party favors are given to each child and the birthday child gets to take home the special birthday balloons. We do not give or exchange birthday gifts at school (party favor contents excluded).
If you would like to pass out invitations at school for a birthday party you are hosting, all children must be invited.
Why nothing from home? Not all families are able to provide the same level or type of treats or favors/gifts, so Avalon creates an equitable experience for all at school.
Due to safety issues, no bounces houses are allowed at the facility.