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Health, Nutrition and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroo
Transcript of Health, Nutrition and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroo
In this presentation you will :
- Understand what health, nutrition and safety looks like in an early childhood classroom
-Learn strategies to support health, nutrition, and safety in an early childhood classroom
-Be provided resources that you can utilize to assist in planning and implementing effective health, nutrition and safety in the early childhood classroom
- Be given an example of an activity that can be sent home to establish family engagement
- See a possible obstacle and solution that may effective health, nutrition and safety in an early childhood classroom
Nutrition in the classroom
Nutrition is the "nutrients in food, such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, the amount of intake, and the processes by which a person takes in food. Good nutrition is needed for good health and physical development, including the growth of bones, organs, muscles, and the brain."(Groark & Song 2012).
In the classroom, it is important that our facility offers nutritious, culturally-appropriate meals and/or snacks that meet children’s needs, even special dietary needs.
Providing a healthy classroom may seem like an overwhelming task but do not fret. There are many resources right at your fingertips.
The website http://www. kids.usa.gov provides a list of health related lesson plans. This is a great way to get actual plans and inspiration to create your own plans.
Another great website is http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/living/childcare.shtml. This site will keep you up to date on health regulations in our state of New York.
The purpose of this presentation is to improve effective health, nutrition and safety practices in our early childhood education center in order to receive accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children . According to the text Health and Nutrition of Children, “early care and education professionals are in a prime position to impact the cognitive and social development of young children, shape their nutritional habits, increase their levels of physical activity, and optimize their academic and social success.” (Groark & Song 2012). It is our responsibility as educators to provide children with a safe, healthy and positive environment to learn and grow in.
Health in the classroom
According to the World Health Organization, health is defined as "a state of complete physical, oral, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity " (1948). In an early childhood classroom health can be seen in many activities that are part of a daily routine. For example, our facility has "policies regarding consistent hand washing, daily cleaning and sanitation of surfaces, written procedures for illness of students and staff, and safety in food preparation and storage." (NAEYC 2014).
Another way that we insure the health of our facility is through our requirement that all students be immunized. The NAEYC states that the goal of an early childhood education program should "promote the health and wellness of children and protect children and staff from illness and injury" (2014). Preschoolers learn many healthy behaviors from observing adults so remember to be a positive role model!
Healthy Family Activity
According to the website www.letsmove.gov/active-families, children " who feel supported by friends and families to become active, or surrounded by others interested in physical activity, are more likely to participate" (2014). This is why family involvement is crucial to a child's healthy lifestyle. A way to encourage family involvement is to send home activities that families can participate in together.For example, send home a paper that has columns for biking, walking, dancing and playing. Encourage each family to participate in one of the activities for at least 15 minutes each day for two weeks. Have them write down who participated in which activity and for how long. At the end of the two weeks present a certificate of completion to the families that participated. A family that is physically active together will have lots of fun!
Strategies to support health in the classroom
One way to support health in the early childhood classroom is to create lesson plans on positive health topics. For example, reading a book such as Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer and bring in "props" to act out going to the dentist.
Another way to support health in the classroom is to be an excited and passionate role model. When it is time to wash hands in the classroom, as an educator, be excited! Sing the prcedure for proper hand washing. If you are excited then children will be too!
Health Obstacles to Overcome
One of the major obstacles in promoting health in the early childhood classroom is lack of knowledge. Many teachers may not be given the opportunity to utilize professional development in the field of health. According to Applied Developmental Science, "caregivers with more formal education in early childhood tend to provide higher quality child care." (Burchinal, Cryer, Clifford, & Howes 2002).
The best way to overcome lack of knowledge is to become knowledgeable. Sign up and participate in continuing education classes. The NAEYC has many resources for continuing education. NAEYC states, "educators need to participate in ongoing continuing education to stay current. Professional development leads to improvements in the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions of early childhood professionals.” (2014)
Health, Nutrition and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroom
ECE 214- Nutrition & Health of Children & Families
Professsor Hun Kaplowitz
September 7, 2014
Strategies to support nutrition in the classroom
One strategy to use to promote nutrition in the early childhood classroom is to teach children what a healthy plate looks like. Allowing children to try healthy foods will encourage them to make healthy choices. The Journal of Health Education states that the"greater availability and accessibility of healthy foods would lead to more consumption." (1998).
Providing children with an opportunity to grow their own healthy food is another way to support nutrion in the class. Try growing a small edble garden in the classroom.
Remember that preschoolers learn many healthy behaviors from observing adults so remember to be a positive role model!
Resources on Nutrition
One of the best resources on nutrition for kids is the website http://www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/ParentsEducators.html. This site provides educators with "“trustworthy information and find “teachable moments” that will impact children’s choices at home and at school.” (2014).
The website http://www.choosemyplate.gov/preschoolers/daily-food-plans.html provides a food plan for preschoolers.
Family Activity on Nutrition
A great way to ensure that children understand the importance of making healthy and nutritious choices is to get families involved.
One activity to suggest to famlilies is to Be Brave. The Be Brave activity is to allow the child to pick one new fruit, vegetable or other healthyfood at the super market. When the family brings the new food home allow the child to help properly prepare the new food. Always remeber to have the child wash their hands before handling food. Be Brave and have the whole family try the new food. "Children’s eating behaviors, food preferences, and willingness to try new foods are
influenced by the people around them." (NAEYC 2014). If families are willing to try new foods then the children in the family will too!
One obstacle that teachers may face in teaching nutrition to preschoolers is support. Teachers need to have a support system in order to create a healthy classroom environment.
The solution to this obstacle is to establish a support system by using resources found online, have nutrition based school materials such as posters, create lesson plans that involve healthy eating, encourage families to be involved by providing take home resources. By reaching out to families, you can create a support system.
Another important way to create a support system is to involve the early childhood center. According to Journal of school psychology "School-wide positive behavior support (PBS) is a broad set of research-validated strategies designed to create school environments that promote and support appropriate behavior of all students." (2009)
Safety in the classroom
Safety in the classroom is "creating and maintaining safe environments that engage children and support their healthy development" (Head Start 2014). Creating a safe environment includes but is not limited to proper hand washing, smoke detectors, safety gates, knobs and cabinets, proper placement of medicines and chemicals,outlet and heater covers, enough space that is clean and comfortable, toys, furniture and equipment that is age appropriate, clean and in proper workig condition, more than one fire exit, and all children should be seen and supervised at all times.
One strategy to support safety in the classroom is to "model safety practices and give step-by-step explanations of what and why the practices are necessary." (Head Start 2014). By stating and explaining safety procedures, preschoolers will understand what to do and why to do it. Remember that preschoolers learn by observing so be a positive role model! Remember to always be safe.
Another strategy to encourage safety is to provide children with age appropriate safety toys. For example,set belts for doll strollers or traffic signs for matchbox cars.
After teaching children about safety it is important to prctice safety. Plan regular safety drills.
Safety is an important topic for preschoolers to understand. There are many resources to assist in teaching safety.
The website http://playgroundsafety.org/ provides training and services to create a safea developmentally appropriate play environment for children.
The website http://www.scholastic.com/firesafety provides resources, tools and strategies teachers can use to teach fire safety.
Family activity on safety
Safety does not end at school. It is important to include families in keeping children safe at home. One way to include families is to send home an activity. On the website http://www.usfa.fema.gov/.../fa-295-press.pdf, there is an activity book that should be sent home for families to complete. The activity book includes a plan for a fire drill, item search, and a plan for families to install and check smoke detectors.
Teachers will experience obstacles to creating a safe classroom. Because preschoolers tends to use toys and other objects inappropriately, it can turn a safe classroom into a potentially dangerous one. The best way to overcome this challenge is to teach and monitor how children play. Sometimes children need reminders on the proper way to use toys.
Preschoolers learn through observing. It is extremely important that we as educators and adults remember to be a positive role model to children, involve children in healthy and safe activities and provide children with gentle reminders for safe and healthy behaviors. A great phrase to remind children of healthy behaviors is to Be Safe, Be Polite and Do What's Right!
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Health, Nutrition and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroom