There’s a vegan preschool in Jersey City, and the menu sounds amazing
At The Scandinavian School of Jersey City, eating vegan is cool.
The Wall Street Journal reports that children from one to six years of age, in which 92 are in attendance, aren’t served any animal products whatsoever. While vegetables have a reputation for being a tough sell for toddlers, these lucky students are getting the opportunity to smell, touch, play, and experiment with making the vegan dishes they’re served at lunch hour. That means everything from homemade almond milk to squash risotto is being shared. Paired with fresh from the oven bread, scratch made hummus, and vegetables picked from the school’s garden, and I’m wondering if they’d notice I’m 26 if I enrolled.
This sought-after school is one of few in the country. School director Maria Germerud-Sharp, a former au pair, says the school started vegetarian but made the switch when some vegan students came onboard. “One of the core values of the school is building community,” she told WSJ. “We all eat together.” While she admits some parents weren’t too keen at the beginning, seeing their children enjoying themselves helped them get used to it. But kids eat boogers, too, so parents shouldn’t be too worried at meeting their highly evolved palates.
To make sure there’s no health concerns, tastings are held yearly so parents can meet with a nutritionist to better understand the sound nutritional benefits of plant-based foods. Eugene Dinkevich, director of the division of general paediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn told WSJ by email that “While I don’t see anything particularly wrong with a vegan preschool, I surveyed my colleagues in the practice and none of them seem particularly enthusiastic about it.” He added “They agreed that if parents want this and child is growing well, there is no problem.”
Eating vegan is beautifully in line with the other progressive offerings at The Scandi School. Global, multicultural, and multilingual kids also have unstructured play, creativity, and experiencing the outdoors on the menu. With any luck, this school can be the first of many to give children the chance to understand eating vegan in a very practical way. Then, since the children are the future, the future can be vegan.
Check out the Wall Street Journal video interview here.