As the end of August approaches and fall is just around the corner, Jonah and I find ourselves at a new milestone: our daughter, Lorelai, is starting preschool! While we are excited for her to start this next chapter in her life, we are also feeling some anxiety. Naturally, we worry about how she will navigate this transition from being home with us to being in a new environment with kids and teachers she has never met.
Another worry we have is that she will likely be exposed to diet culture at school. While I know that Lorelai will be inevitably affected by diet culture in the future, I am hopeful that we can protect her from letting diet culture negatively impact her relationship with food and her body. We have done our best to shield her from diet culture by following Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility
around food, modeling intuitive eating and talking about the natural diversity in bodies.
Despite this, I know she will likely be taught by her teachers about “good” foods and “bad” foods, she will likely overhear other peers overvaluing sweets, making negative comments around specific body sizes, or just parroting their parents’ own food and body issues.
I decided to channel these thoughts into an open letter to schools in this month’s newsletter. I am hopeful that this message will reach educators and school caregivers and help to prevent our kids from developing disordered relationships with food and their bodies.