Food Program

Food Program Policy and Procedures

Spartan Child Development Center participates in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Care Food Program.  Each family is asked to fill out a Food Program application because reimbursement for the children’s meal costs is based on family size and income.  Our participation in the USDA Child Care Food Program allows the Center to provide nutritious, high-quality meals while keeping fees as low as possible.  No separate charges are made to any child or family for the Food program.  A child is fully enrolled in our Food Program once he/she can fully eat all components of the meals being served at SCDC (usually occurs around 1 year of age when enrolled in a toddler classroom)

Spartan Child Development Center’s food program provides meals that are nutritious, balanced and appealing to young children.  Meals are planned to include foods of a differing texture, flavor, color, and consistency.  A nutritious food is not nutritious if the child does not eat it, so care is taken to serve food attractively and in a form that facilitates independent eating (i.e., small pieces, finger foods).

Food preferences and attitudes formed in the early years influence lifelong dietary habits.  It is our policy to plan our menu based on the USDA guidelines which recommend minimizing consumption of salt, sugar and fat, and increasing the frequency of whole grain foods, lean meats, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.  During the week the Center provides a variety of vegetarian meals using alternate sources of protein such as beans, lentils, peas, and dairy products.  No pork or beef products are served at the Center. Certified hormone-free and antibiotic-free milk is served at all meals; whole milk in the toddler classrooms and skim milk in the transition through preschool classrooms. Whenever fruit juice is served to the children it is 100 percent juice and is diluted to minimize the children’s sugar consumption.

Children are encouraged, but not forced, to eat foods that have been served to them.  Meals are served no more than 3 hours apart.  Children in the full day program receive breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.  Children enrolled in the morning program receive breakfast and children in the afternoon program receive a snack.

Menus are planned in advance and posted weekly on our website, as well as, hung up in classrooms. The daily menu is posted on a wall located near the kitchen in the rotunda. Substitutions are noted on the menu.  Children eat meals with the teachers in their classrooms. Teachers model acceptable mealtime behavior and use the opportunity to reinforce many concepts appropriate to the preschool classroom. All children are served the same foods unless allergies, religious beliefs, or health needs require dietary restrictions.  Please discuss these with the Director so appropriate substitutions may be made.  A special dietary request will require documentation from a physician.

SCDC policy is that families are to refrain from sending food supplements or meals for children on a consistent basis, unless allergies or medically documented food intolerances deem this appropriate. Our kitchen serves as the primary source for food preparation and service. This area is licensed and inspected for such purposes. Our kitchen staff are trained on licensing and food safety regulations. Our classrooms are not equipped nor designed to handle food preparation. All food is prepared and distributed centrally from the kitchen.

Food prepared at our center is served at the highest nutritional value possible. All food is made fresh daily in our kitchen. In response to licensing and food safety regulations, leftovers are never served to the children. Food with expired dates or that appear tampered (broken seals, incorrect form) in any way are immediately disposed of.

Food is ordered and delivered weekly from local vendors and stores to maintain a variety of foods served and to introduce new foods to children. For safety purposes, liquids and food hotter than 110 degrees Farenheit are kept out of children’s reach.

Food Allergy Considerations

All children are served the same foods unless allergies, religion, or documented health needs require dietary restrictions.  Documentation includes completion of the Center’s food substitution and Allergy Action Plan (if applicable); both forms must be completed and signed by the child’s physician. Religious reasons for food substitutions must be documented by the parent and discussed with the Director. Food preferences are not considered reasons for a change in foods served or offered

If substitutions require a family to bring foods from home these foods must:

a). meet USDA’s CACFP food component guidelines

b). Be labeled with the child’s name, date, and ingredients

Non-Discrimination Statement: USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Food Brought in for a Special Occasion

As our program has expanded, we have many more children with severe allergies and food intolerances. For some children, exposure to an allergen could be life threatening. A parent wanting to bring food to the Center for a special occasion (i.e. birthday) must have the food items inspected and approved by center administration before entering the classroom.

Food brought in for a special occasion must meet the following criteria:

  • Commercially packaged with complete ingredients list clearly visible.
  • Food must be inspected and approved by center administration before entering the classroom.
  • Due to licensing regulations, foods made at home cannot be served to the children at the Center while they are under our care
  • Package cannot contain either of these phrases “may contain traces of peanuts or tree nuts” OR “made on equipment that processes tree nut/peanut products”

Diapers, Bottles and Food for Infants

  • Families with children in diapers need to bring at least a week’s supply of diapers.
    • Spartan Child Development Center is not able to support the use of cloth diapers and/or services.
  • SCDC provides dry-wipes that can be wet with water. Parents may supply their own wet wipes if they prefer.
  • Families must provide diaper cream, baby powder, etc. if they wish it to be applied. Items must be labeled with the child’s first and last name.
    • Any oral medications (ie: saline nasal spray) require a medication form to be filled out by the parent and are located at the front desk
  • SCDC offers Meijer Brand Iron Fortified Formula for children under the age of 1 year. Parents may choose to supply their own formula and/or breast milk, as well as, developmentally appropriate foods for their child while enrolled in the Infant Classroom. A parent’s preference should be indicated on the Formula/Food Sign-Off Sheet at the time of enrollment
    • Families who choose to provide their own formula and/or breast milk, need to bring in a daily supply of bottles, already filled with  breast milk or prepared formula
      • Bottles need to be clearly labeled with the child’s first and last name, date that they are being brought in, and the ingredients.
    • Baby food jars and containers of homemade baby food brought into the Center must be labeled with the child’s name, date they are being brought in, and the ingredients.
    • Due to the age of the children in the infant rooms we ask parents to try to avoid bringing in high-allergen foods (SCDC is a completely tree-nut and peanut free facility)
      • Blueberries, and other small round foods, may not be served to children under the age of 2 years due to DHS Child Care Licensing Rules
    • Please communicate with the Infant Room teachers regarding table foods that your child has been exposed to and your preference for your child receiving food prepared at SCDC prior to being enrolled in a toddler classroom (around 1 year of age)
      • All children enrolled in a Toddler Classroom will be served all meal-components, including whole-milk, unless a physician’s statement indicates a medical need for a component substitution

Parents are welcome to utilize our nursing/feeding room located between the Seafoam and Lavender Infant rooms at any time.