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 Post subject: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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My daughter goes to a Christian preschool, and they will be decorating eggs. I told the teacher I could provide a brownie egg or a papier machet balloon for her to decorate, because we obviously can't provide boiled eggs due to ethical reasons. This was her response...

"My apologies for the delayed response. I really had to do a lot of thinking about this situation. I understand and respect your choice to be vegan. When it comes down to what a child is consuming we (myself and the school) try to accommodate the child's needs. We try to notify you for special meals and store separate snacks to help Ava feel included. You are very passionate about your lifestyle. I am very passionate about teaching and providing hands on experiences for all of my students. I cannot create a separate lesson or activity for Ava nor will I tell her that she cannot participate in an activity. I feel that it would be unethical and require me to go against my teaching philosophy. Our class will continue to explore eggs until next Thursday. We will also be coloring eggs next Wednesday. The entire preschool will be going on an Easter egg hunt next Thursday. Our special Easter snack will be an Easter egg, carrots and grapes.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me." Is this not insane? I responded by explaining the ethical side to it and that its like asking a muslim child to bring pork to school. I also told her its an extension of our Christian beliefs, even though I'm not Christian, just a believer in God and that we should take care of His creation. I told her I'd be willing to be there to facilitate the decorating of the balloon. My daughter actually wants to decorate a balloon and not a real egg. She is very aware that we are vegan and proud of it. Any one else have experience with this? I never expected it would be such a battle ground.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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As a former Montessori / pre-school teacher, I think your daughter's teacher is being difficult and uncompromising. Especially since you are willing and able to provide alternate materials and supervision. Why is this teacher so focused on Easter and eggs?? Is it a Christian school? I think all the egg shiitake is weird.

Here are some other alternatives for you to consider, too:
http://www.mightyvegan.com/egg-decorating-for-vegans/
https://www.eggnots.com/

Good luck!
xo
kittee

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:38 pm 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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That is some BS. I really don't see how agreeing to let your daughter decorate a balloon (that you provide and are willing to assist with!) is unethical for the teacher. I would be really irritated if I were in your shoes. I'm sorry.


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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:45 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Yikes, so her "ethical conviction" that she doesn't want to create a separate lesson or activity trumps your ethics? By the way, it isn't clear, but are you being asked to purchase the boiled eggs for the egg hunt or the decorating etc?

I would respond quickly that you are not looking for a major accommodation, merely that Ava be allowed to decorate a balloon instead of coloring eggs and be given a separate snack, which you will of course provide. I would probably cc the principal, if you think she is going to say no again.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:45 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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Pinko, I am certainly irritated. Especially since she mentions that it would compromise HER philosophical beliefs on teaching. I'm not stopping her from doing this hands on activity. Kittee, my husband just showed me the egg nots link today! Too bad its a little late for this year but I totally want to do it next year. Pretty soon I'll be a pro and have an arsenal full of stuff, which is good because I have another little one on the way. And yes, the egg obsession is weird. What if she had an allergy and couldn't touch them? I'm sure then it would be different.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:51 pm 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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Yeah, I agree that you should cc the principal or director or whoever her higher-up is when you reply. And, honestly, I wouldn't even get into an ethical/moral/whatever explanation with this teacher. I'd just say, "This is not something we're okay with our daughter participating in. Here is the alternative we can provide."


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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I like your clarity Pinko.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:46 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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*Crabby's blood is boiling...*

planthappymamma wrote:
"I understand and respect your choice to be vegan. When it comes down to what a child is consuming we (myself and the school) try to accommodate the child's needs....Our special Easter snack will be an Easter egg, carrots and grapes."

It doesn't sound like she's respecting your choice to be vegan at all. What a great teacher.

Quote:
"I feel that it would be unethical and require me to go against my teaching philosophy."

Which, apparently, puts the desires/requirements of the students behind her masterplan? I mean, seriously, what a bisque. I totally respect your choice to be vegan, but it's unethical for me to let your child not have eggs, so go fork yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:47 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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What if there were a child who was allergic to eggs?

This is ego, pure and simple, on the part of the teacher. I taught preschool for years, snd occasionally providing alternative activities is just part of the job. You're not really even doing that, since you are providing the egg alternative. Have you thought about some plaster eggs? You can get plaster of Paris and an egg mold from Hobby Lobby, etc. Super easy and the eggs would be about "egg sized" too. On the day they're hunting for eggs (seriously, real eggs? What are they going to do with them?), I would take her out of class if you or dad are able, assuming daughter agrees.


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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:13 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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refinnej wrote:
What if there were a child who was allergic to eggs?

Seriously! My nephew is allergic to eggs and dairy (they're not vegan, but it's cool that they can come to my place and not worry about my food). Apparently, this teacher would respect and understand that, but it would go against her teaching philosophy to not have him do Easter egg stuff with real eggs, so I guess...he would just have to die?!

You should have him bring in an avocado or something and have him insist it is totally an egg. ;D

ETA: An avocado hunt would be fierce! I don't celebrate Easter, but if it revolved around avocados instead of eggs, I might change my mind! ;D

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:20 am 
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I am completely on your side, but if the school is a Christian school, I think you're already AMAZINGLY lucky in them cooperating with you in terms of food and snacks. If it were me I'd keep her home those days, and send a polite letter to the teacher and the director stating my disagreement with the "teaching philosophy" [which is classified as what? inflexibility?] and expressing my disappointment in the teacher's ability to respond to a situation that, in real life, doesn't represent such a huge challenge and instead really demonstrates an inability to empathize and show real Christian values.
I hope your kid doesn't have much more time there.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:59 am 
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Semen Strong
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I think the problem with just keeping her home and writing a letter expressing disappointment is that (1) you're not pushing the director to remedy this before Easter, which is why I like the idea of giving clear alternatives that work and a time frame, so its easy to say yes, (2) it sends a message to your daughter, who may like hanging out with her friends and going to school that veganism means deprivation - you don't get to hang out with your friends and do fun stuff, and (3) it would be for 3 days (Wed, Thurs and Friday), which may not work with the OP's schedule and I for one would be annoyed to be paying for a preschool and not taking advantage of it because the teacher is a jerk (but I am a cheapskate!).

I also don't think all Christian schools are always inflexible and I don't think it makes sense to assume that from the get go. It sounds like this is one teacher, not the whole institution.

I would send a very clear letter to the teacher re the snack and craft, ccing the director, and make it clear that I was going to be a bigger pain in the asparagus than the teacher. Its a lot easier for the principal to get the teacher to agree to allow the accommodation (because the teacher is an employee) than change a parent's mind. The craft and the snack are so easy to remedy. The egg hunt is harder, so there I can see keeping my kiddo home, though I think if it were my kid, I'd let her participate and talk about it later on terms she can understand about how the chicken eggs are now basically being thrown away, where if you hunt for plastic eggs you can reuse them etc. For me, one of the challenges of raising a vegan child is explaining that some people don't think like we do, not just pulling them out of things that we don't like.

I would seriously think it was insane if the teacher wouldn't agree to give your kid a non-egg snack, and I'd probably pull the allergy card if the director said no.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:49 am 
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Baking In The Flavor

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Hey everyone! Alright, so just for some background, Ava has been going there all year and I've always provided alternative food for her. She has a goodie bag there plus ice cream and other frozen snacks in the freezer for times when parents bring impromptu cupcakes and things. Ava totally gets that we are vegan and is proud of it, although she may not fully understand the animal welfare part of it-she's 3 1/2. Christine the teacher has always communicated with me about what is coming up so I can prepare. For example, I provided a tofu scramble when the kids were going to eat scrambled eggs for "Green Eggs and Ham." I'm willing to do a lot of work and preparation because its what I believe in, and I talk to Ava every step of the way about what we are doing and why. When the egg week was coming up, I knew that egg decorating would probably be in the works, so I explained that I could provide the alternatives, which is when she gave me the e-mail. I also got a note in her mailbox that said each child is to bring 4 hard boiled eggs-obviously not going to happen. The egg hunt is actually with plastic eggs, and we've done it before where she switches it out with the candy that I give her. We do the same for Halloween, and she's very happy with it. She has requested a special basket with a bunny so I plan on letting her give what she hunted for to her friend and presenting her with her handmade basket. I know she'll love it. I really like what Tofulish said, that "one of the challenges of raising a vegan child is explaining that some people don't think like we do." I actually want Ava seeing the ways of the world early on so that its not a shock later. Ok, so here is my thoughtful, well laid out response to the teacher...

"Hey Christine. I probably didn't make it too clear from the beginning, but we are ethical vegans, which means we don't believe in using any animal or animal parts within reason for any purposes. This came from a profound shift in my heart and mind when I learned about our factory farming system in place today. If you have any pets, I'm sure you understand the emotion behind it. We cannot purchase eggs and provide them for decorating because it would go against our beliefs. Its kind of like asking a Muslim to bring pork for an activity. That is why I am happy to provide a brownie egg or papier machet balloon, and I can also be there to facilitate the activity. The other kids would not feel alienated, but hopefully just understand that Ava has different beliefs. In fact, what we do is an extension of our Christian beliefs. I hope you understand that Ava will not be decorating eggs and I can't compromise on that. I've also noticed activities with feathers that I am uncomfortable with but never got around to talking about it. These things are just really important to us as a family; I'm not trying to infringe on your teaching. I sub so if you ever need me to take a day off to be there for an activity that is just fine. I'd love to be there for the Easter activities. Also, Ava has done an Easter egg hunt before and she knows that we switch candy out and has no problem with it. We do the same for Halloween. None of this should be a problem. Just let me know what I can do so that we are both comfortable with what is going on."

Now this is her one line response to me...

"Bring a papier mâché egg in Ava's backpack on Tuesday."

Pretty crazy eh? Oh, and you may notice that I mention in the e-mail that it is an extension of our "Christian beliefs." I'm actually not Christian but a big believer in God and that we should care for his creation. I just say Christian because its easier and I think really drives the message home.

Crabby Crafter, I love avocados and so does Ava! Last night at a party a friend said to dye a potato which seems awesome too. Reffinej, thanks for telling me about the plaster eggs! I'm going to look around this weekend and see what I can get.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart everyone for totally getting me. I've been vegan for over three years and love it! Its nice to have this message board with cool people.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:53 am 
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I just want to say that it's really thoughtful that you offer fun alternatives for your little one. When I was a child it was very hard being left out of birthday parties and such, and I didn't have alternate treats available at school. Good for you! Ava is obviously very loved with a creative and ethical mom.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:29 am 
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Semen Strong
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Planthappymamma, what a great outcome! I really like how clear you are and the last line of your email, where you ask what you can do to help her, instead of making her wrong. You handled it really gracefully, and I could definitely learn from you not to go all fire-breathing-lawyer-dragon on people.

Ava sounds like such a cool little girl, and I love hearing how you're parenting her to be proud of, and choose, being vegan, so it doesn't feel like a deprivation. I think its so inspiring. I hope I can do the same with Leela.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:50 am 
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Thank you so much guys. Your comments mean so much=) It is totally possible to celebrate what we do with our children and making them proud, rather than ashamed.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:39 am 
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planthappymamma, I am _so_ glad this worked out for you and that you stood your ground. It sounds like you are such a fun, caring mom -- I love that you are so flexible, too. :D

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:45 am 
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For 3 1/2, Ava sounds incredibly understanding already.

Well done on your approach to the teacher.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:02 am 
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I love how you handled this! Ava is a lucky kiddo.

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:33 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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Thanks guys, I still feel quite good about it=) By the way, I just discovered that white potatoes totally work! Ava dyed them, then put mini skewers in each one, then stuck them in a basket with styrofoam. I hardly had to do anything and she loved it!
Image

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:28 pm 
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Cute kiddo! That is neat about the potatoes!


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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:31 pm 
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hooray!

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:42 pm 
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Someday that will be part of a really cool science project about the properties of water.


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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:50 pm 
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So cute!

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 Post subject: Re: preschool teacher's e-mail about decorating Easter eggs.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:46 pm 
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Thank you!

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