Tree of Life International School believes values are taught by actions, not words. That is why there is a nutritional program included in the school tuition, that not only feeds our students but also teaches them the value of sharing a meal.


How do we teach values

Together, parents and teachers strive to help students develop the mental and moral qualities that form a person’s character.  We often refer to someone of good character as having values, and we accept that values must be taught to provide a peaceful, prosperous society. The question is: how do we teach values? and when?

Actions speak more than words

So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that values are not taught with words. They are taught all the time through our actions and attitudes, whether we feel like teaching them or not. Moreover, much of our teaching on values actually occurs when we aren’t “on the job” as Mom, Dad or Teacher.

Take the school lunch, as an example.

During lunchtime, students line up and wait their turn to choose. They socialize while waiting and select from a wide range of nutritious options.

Values through meals together

At a set time each day, students and teachers line up, wash hands and choose what they want from a handful of options, then sit down and eat together. After eating, they clean their plates and leave their cups and cutlery in designated bins.

What are the values that are taught?

Lunch is not only a chance to eat, but also to smile.


We always find something to enjoy.


Each one of us decides what to eat, and how much, from the options provided. We try new things. We give honest feedback.


We greet those serving behind the counter and thank them for their hard work and care.

During lunch students share and talk about their day.


We wait in line.


We learn about food from other cultures. We eat using table manners.


What we accept as a serving, we eat; we avoid waste. We clean up our own space, and keep the common area clean.

A diet with a balance in carbohydrates, proteins and grains is important for brain development.


We share time and food. We do not set ourselves apart by a selection of food that others may not try. Items on the menu allow everyone an option, no matter their diet.


We avoid single-use plastics and food waste by eating together from food produced locally.


We take care of our health with balanced meals with grains, protein, fresh vegetables, juice made from whole fruit and sauces prepared in the school kitchen. We avoid ¨brain fog¨ and hyperactivity provoked by too much sugar or refined carbs.


Lunchtime is a time for tasting new dishes and enjoying food with friends.

Home-made dishes and family

How can parents help instill values at home through food?

In conclusion, encourage conversations that develop contentment. Focus on what was good, not only what was disliked. Remind your children to give feedback, both good and bad. Prioritize the nutrition of whole foods and home-made dishes over packaged food. Eat together as a family, sharing the same dish. Try new recipes to expand horizons.


Text by Angela Jarman

Photographs by Leandro Natale