Demystifying What Being a Vegan Preschool Means With HiMama

Center Name

The Learning Academy

Location

Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada

Years in Operation

Under 1

Center Locations

1

Classrooms

4

Capacity

58

Staff

12

Favorite HiMama Feature

Sharing healthy recipes with parents.

The Challenges of Being a Vegan School

Although most parents can agree that it is important for their child care center to provide healthy meals and snacks, the words meat-free, egg-free and dairy-free can cause confusion and even anxiety. 

‘How will they get all their nutrients?’

‘My child’s too picky and won’t eat any of it.’

‘So you’re just going to feed my child broccoli?’

With concerns like these, Stacey Pequegnat, owner of The Learning Academy, had her work cut out for her to assure that her vision for healthy vegan meals would appeal to every child, while exposing them to a variety of flavors.

“If they’re not really sure what their kids are having or if they’ve never really made a vegan meal before, then we’re teaching the parents as well,” she explains.

An Opportunity for Better Communication

Right from the start, Stacey knew that communication with parents needed to be a top priority for The Learning Academy. The center launched with HiMama as their parent communication app of choice so that parents could have instant updates throughout the day and feel connected to their children despite not physically being there.

Many of these updates were of what the children were eating, and how much they loved the healthy meals and snacks that they were provided. This was extra reassuring for parents who were skeptical or concerned that their children may not want to eat vegan options that they were unfamiliar with.

Keeping Track of Healthy Eating

Using HiMama, The Learning Academy is able to track everything that the children eat along with a picture, how much they ate, and notes to go along with it. Parents then receive updates in real-time so they can have the peace of mind of knowing that their children are not going hungry, and can even track their eating patterns over time, showing exactly what they enjoyed and how much they ate throughout the day.

Showing “Picky Eaters” Loving the Menu

With these messages, many parents were amazed to see their children enjoying meals that they had never tried at home and were unsure if they would want to eat. Parents began asking for more information about the meals as they received updates of how much their kids loved the food so they could make them at home as well.

“Parents have told us that their children are picky eaters. If they see on HiMama that they’ve had all of their meal, they’re like, ‘what, no way!’ and they’ll make it at home because they know they’ll like it,” Stacey explains.

Sharing Recipes with Parents

As more and more questions came in about what exactly the kids were eating, the center’s Culinary Manager, Brenda, had the idea to begin sharing the recipes she was making with parents through HiMama.

“I think it’s a good way to bridge the gap between home and school because they kids can say ‘oh, we’ve had this at The Learning Academy,’ and it keeps parents a bit more involved, too,” says Stacey.

Over time, sharing recipes has helped build a stronger relationship between The Learning Academy and families by helping parents think of new meal options at home, which then has challenged the center to be more creative so they can keep providing inspiration for great things for everyone to eat.

Stacey explains, “we like to keep the favorites and add in new recipes, so when parents pull it up they’ll say, ‘oh, I see you’re making gingerbread muffins next week, I’m so excited to try those and make those at home!”

Building a Community

By using HiMama as its parent communication app, The Learning Academy is able to better involve parents in their child’s development and build meaningful relationships in their community.

“Without HiMama, I don’t think we would have the close relationship with parents that we do,” reflects Stacey. “Nowadays, most parents have access to technology, and with busy lifestyles, it’s hard to find the time at pick up and dropoff. When we can communicate through HiMama if we didn’t have a chance to in-person, it helps to build relationships with the staff and parents. It just brings us all together, which is nice.”

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Michael Keshen

Michael is the Content Manager at HiMama, with over 7 years of online content publishing experience. He is the current editor in chief for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.

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