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Chelsea Moore

ECD 201
Ethics Letter
The Birthday Cake: Balancing Responsibilities to Children and Families
1. Identify the problem and discuss why it involves ethics
Olivia is faced with the problem of serving healthy and nutritious foods
in her center and these policies are clearly stated in the family
handbook. One of the policies also states specifically NO birthday
cakes allowed, however Olivia has a new mother of a child that is in
her class and this mother is very shy and does not interact often until
one day when she brings a large birthday cake to celebrate her childs
birthday. This situation relates to ethics because Olivia is in between a
dilemma where she knows the right thing to do would be to explain to
the mother the food policies of the center and to abide by those, but
then again shes stuck because she doesnt want to break a new
relationship with this shy mother that is beginning to interact more.
2. Identify to whom Olivia has conflicting responsibilities.
What does she owe to each of the stakeholders?
The Director: Olivia owes the director her obedience to abiding by the
programs policies of only serving healthy foods and strictly not
allowing birthday cakes into the center
The other children and their families: Olivia has made a promise to the
children and families to only serve healthy foods and now she is faced
with possibly dealing with a lot of complaints on not being fair if she
allows this childs mother to bring birthday cake when that is not
The new mother: Beginning to open up to teacher and center but also
does not primarily speak English; therefore she may not be fully aware
of the centers policies
The new child: Is coming into a new school and is faced with a
situation that may become a conflict with his friends, mother, and
new schoolteacher
3. Brainstorm possible resolutions
Olivia could not follow centers healthy food policies for one
day because she wants to keep this new relationship with this
new mother
Olivia could quietly pull the mother outside and discuss
centers policies and rules towards non healthy foods and
birthday cakes

Olivia may could call parents or send home note to see if their
children could celebrate with birthday cake one day after
school maybe at the near by park that way they are away
from center grounds and she still has a chance of maintaining
relationship with the new mother
Olivia could speak with director on making changes to the
policies or exceptions for special occasions only

4. Consider ethical finesse

In this situation ethical finesse is used because here we are faced with
a problem that should be solved to both satisfy Olivia and the center as
well as the new mother and her child. I do believe in this situation one
of the most ethical solutions would be to explain to this mother the
programs policies and how they are on non-healthy foods and
especially birthday cakes. Olivia should speak to this mother in a kind
and respectable manner, and should also try and help her understand
because she does not speak primarily English. I think this problem
should not be avoided because Olivia needs to cover her grounds with
the center and the other children and their families as well as ensuring
and explaining to this new mother how the center has been ran and
that she has no control over those policies.
5. Look for guidance in the NAEYC Code
P-2.2 We shall inform families of program philosophy, policies,
curriculum, assessment system, cultural practices, and personnel
qualifications, and explain why we teach as we do
P-2.5 We shall make every effort to communicate effectively with all
families in a language that they understand. We shall use community
resources for translation and interpretation when we do not have
sufficient resources in our own programs
P-3B.1 We shall follow all program policies. When we do not agree with
program policies, we shall attempt to effect change through
constructive action within the organization
6. Describe what you think is the most ethically defensible
course of action for Olivia
In this situation the most ethically defensible course of action for Olivia
would be to explain the policies to the new mother in a respectable
manner so that she is able to understand them, Olivia should hold her
promises of only serving healthy foods to the center and her childrens