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Ban on pork products in Kindergarten

(242 Posts)
ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 14:52:15

We have been asked by the parents council at my son's Kindergarten not to bring pork products in as part of the breakfast buffet (where once a week parents bring in various types of food to be served as a buffet) The Kindergarten is in Frankfurt and is a state Kindergarten, so I don't think this is a legitimate request. The e-mail that we received stated that "as some children don't eat pork for various reasons we would like to ask parents not to bring pork products anymore."
The only reason I can think of is to do with religion and in a state Kindergarten religion has no place as far as I am concerned. Just wondered if anyone else has any thoughts on this.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:45:22

I'll tell DH then. He must be anti-Muslim, oh hang on...

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 04-Dec-12 15:49:44

As usual, though, Frontpaw you can't generalise. Some people care, some don't, some people would like an accommodation to be made, some people expect and demand an accommodation to be made. I have eaten pork and oysters at a friend's house, who is Jewish, bacon with Muslim friends but some other people would really hate their children to touch or eat pork.

Since pork is not exactly a required food group and the buffet is made to be shared, I say, let's all join hands, sway and bring in fruit instead.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:05

I can understand that perhaps it is easier to simply exclude pork from the breakfast if some of the children do not eat it, particularly if a lot of parents are bringing pork products in, meaning a lot of leftovers; however doesn't having the pork products present at the breakfast actually have the potential to teach children something - that we have differences, some of us don't eat pork, some are vegetarian, some don't eat beef, some don't eat wheat etc but that we should all respect those differences and that we can live (and eat breakfast) alongside each other harmoniously. By not having pork products present, are we not pretending that we are all exactly the same - surely we don't value diversity by doing this do we? Doesn't having a variety of foods present, some of which we can eat and some which we cannot, allows the opportunity for the teachers to begin teaching children about having respect for diversity.

LancsDad Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:20

No big deal. Bring food in everyone can eat with no probs inc. allergies.

Things must be pretty perfect there if this is what people have time to get worked up about.

OatyBeatie Tue 04-Dec-12 15:55:19

That's a very humane line of argument, Dreaming. But my understanding was that the children spend all of the rest of the week eating in accordance with their individual needs/preferences and that this Friday event is a once-a-week shared affair. It would seem more natural that a shared breakfast would be about finding the (very substantial) common ground that exists across these several cultural cuisines, and celebrating that. Multiculturalism is about two sorts of things: respectful acceptance of differences and joyful celebration of similarities. A shared meal seems like an opportunity for the latter.

PessaryPam Tue 04-Dec-12 15:57:22

Thank goodness there aren't a lot of Jainists as all meat would be banned for their sensibilities.

I'm with the OP on this one, label the porky dishes as non kosher/halal and then everyone can choose what they want.

oldraver Tue 04-Dec-12 16:01:09

I think it a silly request, by all means label pork products so if people want to avoid it they can but its not on to ban something (unless it has allergy implications) just because some people dont want to eat it

ZZZenAgain Tue 04-Dec-12 16:08:25

when I look back on those buffet style kindergarten breakfasts, it was a mixture of white and brown bread rolls with either that revolting chocolate spread (which dc seem to like), cheese or sliced ham, some fruit, some cucumber and peppers, sausages.

Most of the German dc are probably used to eating pork with their rolls, in particular thinly sliced and shaped like a teddybear. If dc don't like cheese and don't want a sweet roll, they'll be pork eaters. I agree with whoever posted below I didn't like the look of the sliced chicken in my German supermarket and I would buy pork over chicken for a dc everytime personally.

I think the suggestion below to mark out by the colour of the plat, which food is pork is a very good visual solution. The children eat with their carers in a small group around a table. If there are only a few Muslim dc in the group, the carers only need to gently point out that the red dishes are pork. Dc will have no trouble at all learning that X, Y and Z don't eat pork. There is usually IME MASSES of food at these breakfast buffets. If you don't eat the pork, there is cheese, revolting chocolate spread and maybe chicken or jam to eat with your rolls.

ZZZenAgain Tue 04-Dec-12 16:09:19

argh colour of the platE sorry, not plat

DuelingFanjHoHoHo Tue 04-Dec-12 16:15:03

what Seeker said.

If you want to re-inforce the german culture of stuffing yourself full of pork then just give your own child extra sausages at home or something.

Why does it matter so very much to you.

I am without religion but I would respect the fact that it's easier all round to not offer Pork in a nursery setting.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 04-Dec-12 16:28:53

I think the school should allow pork products, but have them separate from the other foods, or labeled as such.

I am not bothered about the "various reasons" people could have for not eating pork. Most children I know who are not eating pork, or other meats, for religious or other reasons, know this by the time they are in school and eat accordingly. Why should the majority of the class not be allowed to eat what is a standard food for them (DH is German, I've lived there, pork is king of meats)?

Is the non-pork-eating group particularly large at this school? Has the school even tried to speak to the families on this issue? Or are they being over-sensitive to what is possibly a non-issue for the pork abstainers? They're raising their children in merrily pork-eating country, surely they expect these situations, and indeed, have already encountered them. This should be part of the learning and integration process for these children.

NulliusInBlurba Tue 04-Dec-12 16:29:27

Actually now I think about it, I'm pretty sure DD2's school meals here in Berlin are all pork-free, for the same reason. Now there are plenty of complaints about the dismal quality of the food, but nobody is in the slightest bothered about a lack of pork for one meal a day. It's honestly not an issue. This whole hoo-haa in a Frankfurt Kita is not really about pork or no pork - it's about not accepting an immigrant culture as being truly 'German'.

OP - why not get your Kita reps to complain to the Frankfurter Allgemeine - it's the kind of 'oh woe is our sacred German culture' thing they love.

Preferthedogtothekids Tue 04-Dec-12 16:31:26

My DH is a mixed-race chap with a Muslim Dad. He isn't a practicing Muslim but he won't eat any pork. I find it much easier just to buy food that the whole family can eat rather than mess about with separate meats. Isn't that more sensible when taking food in for a large group? I'm not sure kindergarten kids will even notice that their food isn't pork, they may even enjoy more variety, particularly if many of them eat a fair amount of it at home.

Blu Tue 04-Dec-12 16:33:21

None of the parents here are happy with it and for me that speaks volumes.

Oh, it does, OP, volumes.

Apart from issues of inclusivness, respect, sharing, understanding cultural difference etc, do you not think that for one breakfast a week, amongst the 21+ meals a week that a child eats, it might be healthy to avoid guzzling down on thiswurst and thatwurst for a morniing?

If i were invited to bring sweets to share at a community event and was told that a high % of people present did not like liquroice (for whatever reason) , I would think myself very bloody minded to take as my offering a big dish of liquorice allsorts.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 04-Dec-12 16:35:01

no, you're right, Prefer. The more I think about it, it is just one meal, and these children aren't going to notice a lack of pork for one meal.

I still think that some of these decisions are made without actually consulting the people they affect. But that's not the question being asked, and I was probably off on a tangent. smile

Theicingontop Tue 04-Dec-12 16:36:45

YABU. It's really not that big of a deal.

I see the school's point. What if the pork product you supply isn't immediately recognisable as being pork, and a Jewish or Muslim child ate it erroneously? That would be pretty awful for the child, right? Sure it could be labelled but I don't really see the harm in not bringing it at all. I doubt the kids would miss it. It's just pork.

SolomanDaisy Tue 04-Dec-12 16:39:50

None of the parents are happy about it? Does that include the Jewish/Muslim parents? Are they also so convinced that pork is such an intrinsic part of German culture that they can't miss it out of one breakfast a week? How jolly good of them to be so keen to adapt to their host culture.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Tue 04-Dec-12 17:27:15

People who are suggesting labelling foods - Kindergarten children are aged 3 to 6 years old (in Berlin actually do they start Kindergarten younger, at 2 or 2.5?) and are not taught to read until proper school, which is separate to Kindergarten. So the children in question can't read labels 8with the possible rare exception). The colour of plate thing might work, but it might not, especially for possible 2 year olds and young 3 year olds...

Blu 's liquorish similie is a good one... although I do appreciate that pork products are a standard part of a German breakfast, in the form of salami and other cold sausage, they are not essential. I am glad our Kindergarten doesn't have shared breakfasts I think! Though we are in the depths of the countryside and sadly lacking in cultural diversity - my half German, half English child was the first "foreign" child her Kindergarten group leader had taught, as she confided at the settling in meeting, along with the fact she had been worried about it and was so relieved DD spoke German!

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 04-Dec-12 17:28:04

You got that wrong Soloman. None of the important parents are happy about it...

Actually as an atheist I get a little miffed with people acting like they are doing things for me. Saying 'happy holidays' instead of 'happy Christmas' for example. Maybe the Jewish and Muslim parents are rolling their eyes as well.

hackmum Tue 04-Dec-12 17:33:31

Do Germans usually eat pork products for breakfast? How odd.

OP, can you think of any reasons, historical maybe, why the Germans might decide to be particularly sensitive to the needs of minorities? Hmm?

(Does anyone else think maybe the OP is trolling? Am I going to get deleted for even suggesting it?_

gordyslovesheep Tue 04-Dec-12 17:36:17

Hackmum yes - ham and rolls - but so do brits - sausage and bacon anyone?

I really do NOT see the issue in simply bringing other things though - children don't always know what is what at a buffet and help themselves - surely not having pork isn't going to harm anyone?

gordyslovesheep Tue 04-Dec-12 17:36:53

oh and yes Hack I agree with your final point !

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:43:15

I'm guessing, for whatever reason, having no pork products will make the lives of the people who work at the kindergarten easier.

And for this reason you should go along with it.

I'm guessing no pork products means no pork gelatin eithr. Quavers used to be made with pork gelatin, but aren't anymore, so I suspect there is a lot of pork floating around in various foods. I can see why a letter has gone out to parents.

I know someone who has grumbled about schools banning peanuts, but not meat when her DC are vegetarian.

"in a state Kindergarten religion has no place as far as I am concerned." So you expect them not to celebrate Christmas and Easter, then?

Frankfurters who don't eat fankfurts. Whatever next?

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:44:37

Having lived in Germany, I can confirm pork products are indeed eaten for breakfast.

(And us Brits do like our Bacon and eggs!)

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 04-Dec-12 17:44:42

"how odd" really? It's a different country, with different eating customs, so it's odd? hmm Then you go on to suggest that they are the ones who might not be culturally sensitive.

Oh I get it, we're all just meant to be sensitive towards cultures which aren't European, is that it? Or is it just okay because they're German, we can mock them because of historical reasons?

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