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Promoting Health, Nutrition, and Safety in Preschool Classro

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stephanie peterson

on 3 August 2014

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Transcript of Promoting Health, Nutrition, and Safety in Preschool Classro

Promoting Health, Nutrition, and Safety in Preschool Classrooms
Promoting Health, Nutrition, and Safety in the Preschool Classroom
Stephanie Peterson
ECE 214 Nutrition and Health of Children and Families
Professor Olivia Thorell
The following presentation will be covering the health, nutrition, and safety of our students, and how they all relate to each classroom in our center. We will also be discussing activities that we can suggest to parents to promote these important topics, as well as providing outside resources for teachers. Finally, we will explore possible obstacles to promoting health, nutrition, and safety in the classroom, as well as ways that we can overcome those obstacles.
In the Classroom
Activities for Families
Strategies to Promote Health
Health in the Classroom
Strategies to Promote Health
Resources on Health for Teachers
Family Activities that Promote Health
Application to the
Promoting Nutrition
in the Classroom
Resources for
Activities to Promote Nutrition at Home
Nutrition in the Classroom
Strategies for Applying Nutrition in the Classroom
Resources About Nutrition for Teachers
Activities About Nutrition for Families
Safety in the Classroom
Strategies to Promote
Safety in the Classroom
Resources on
Safety for Teachers
Family Activities about
Safety in the Classroom
Promoting Safety in the Classroom
Resources on Health for Teachers
Family Activities to Promote Safety
Promoting health in the classroom can be challenging, as it encompasses a very broad spectrum. Research suggests that learning outcomes and success correlate with a child's health. Therefore, teachers must work to provide daily lessons and reminders on ways to stay healthy. Part of our goals should include empowering students with the skills and knowledge to look after their own health (Lee, Tsang, Lee, & To, 2003).
Lee, A., Tsang, C., Lee, S. H., & To, C. Y. (2003). A comprehensive “Healthy Schools Programme” to promote school health: the Hong Kong experience in joining the efforts of health and education sectors -- Lee et al. 57 (3): 174 -- Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Retrieved from http://jech.bmj.com/content/57/3/174.full
Constant coaching to promote healthy habits is an important part of empowering students to take part in keeping themselves healthy. Instructing proper hand washing skills, as well as reminding children to cover their mouths when coughing are both very important habits to stress. Eventually, children will adopt these skills without being reminded of them (Groark & Song, 2012).
Groark, C. J., & Song, L. A. (2012). Health and nutrition of children. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Kids Health in the Classroom
This helpful resource provides teachers with everything from suggestions and activities to promote health in the classroom, to full lesson plans, worksheets, and quizzes for each grade level (Nemours, 2014).
Nemours. (2014). Welcome! - KidsHealth in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://classroom.kidshealth.org/
Kids.gov: A safe place to learn and play
This site includes information on a variety of topics, covering preschool through adolescence. The topics are alphabetized, and links on more resources to each topic are provided. This tool will provide teachers with quick access to a wealth of information. Everything from tips for creating healthy indoor environments, to handouts on baby teeth are covered ( Health & Safety for Teachers, n.d).
Health and Safety for Teachers | Kids.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://kids.usa.gov/teachers/health-and-safety/
A great activity for teaching students about germs is to have them create little "germ monsters" for arts and crafts. Then, as a class, teachers can help students place the germ monsters on areas of the classroom that may have germs. For example, children could place the germs on doorknobs, in the restroom, and on toys. Then, the teacher could discuss with students that these are areas that are frequently touched by everyone, and that germs are left behind. This activity will make students more aware of their surroundings, and help encourage more frequent hand washing.
Good Habit, Bad Habit Matching Game
First, begin with ten index cards, cut in half (giving you twenty pieces). On the first ten pieces, write a good hygiene habit, such as flossing, washing hands after using the restroom, and taking a bath. On the second set of ten cards, write a bad hygiene habit, such as failing to wash hands before eating, or not brushing teeth before bed. Place the cards into a hat, and have your child draw from the hat. After he pulls a card, read the habit to him, and have him decide whether the action is a good habit or a bad one, and discuss why (Ireland, 2014).
Hygiene Charades
On small pieces of paper, write "hygiene actions", such as brushing hair, bathing, covering your mouth when coughing, washing hands, or brushing teeth. Each person draws the actions out of a hat, and acts out the action. The first person to correctly guess the hygiene action gets a point. The person with the most points wins the game (Ireland, 2014).
Ireland, K. (2014). Games to Teach Kids About Personal Hygiene | LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/104096-games-teach-kids-personal-hygiene/
One common obstacle that teachers may face in keeping students healthy is parents sending sick children to school. Many parents have a difficult time staying out of work to care for a sick child, and therefore attempt to bring them to the center, despite obvious signs of illness. As teachers, we must develop a course of action in dealing with these situations. For example, each teacher should understand that sick children must be isolated from other students in order to stop the spread of illness (Groark & Song, 2012).
One possible solution to deter parents from sending sick children to school may be to have them provide the center with contact information for another caregiver who is available during the day. Have parents communicate with this person the school's policies for sick students, and inform them that they will be called to retrieve the sick child if the parent is unavailable. Arranging an outside caregiver may help keep parents from viewing school as an only option when their child is sick.
As educators, it is vital that we understand the importance of teaching nutrition in our classrooms. We must teach children about healthy and unhealthy foods, portion sizes and daily values of healthy foods. We also must remember to model good nutrition habits, and make healthy choices throughout the day (Groark & Song, 2012). It is also very important that we communicate the importance of nutrition to parents, so that the habits learned in our center are also practiced at home.
One idea for promoting nutrition in the classroom would be to have pictures of a variety of foods, and have children arrange each food into the correct food groups. Another great activity may be to have plates labeled with correct portion sizes in the kitchen center. Children can arrange the play foods on the plates in the correct portion sizes to serve to other students.
Edutopia has a great site for teachers on promoting nutrition. This site provides lesson plans and activities that can be used in the classroom. This resource covers everything from digestion to meal preparation and also lists additional resources for further information (Davis, 2014).
Davis, M. (2014). National Nutrition Month: Best Web Resources for Teachers | Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/nutrition-mont-resources-matt-davis
With the guidance and permission of parents, children create their own rainbow salad. They are challenged to use one fruit or vegetable for every color of the rainbow. There are many ways to create a fun, healthy meal for even the pickiest of eaters. Children will enjoy being included in meal planning and preparation. This activity will also encourage your child to be open to trying new foods (Nutrition Expedition Programs, 2005).
Nutrition Expedition Programs. (2005). Food Model Activities 16 - Food Rainbow | Nutrition Education | Tools and Resources | Fuel Up To Play 60. Retrieved from http://school.fueluptoplay60.com/tools/nutrition-education/view.php?id=24279507
Begin with a variety of fruits and vegetables, hidden from your child's view. Instruct your child to close his eyes, or give your child a blindfold. Hand them one food item at a time, and use descriptive words to give your child hints about the food. Tell them the color of the food as they feel the shape and texture. Have your child try to guess what fruit or vegetable they are holding. After the guessing game, taste the fruits and vegetables together. Then, come up with more descriptive words about the taste and texture of the food. Make a chart and mark the similarities and differences between each food (Nutrition Expedition Programs, 2005).
This site, organized by the Department of Agriculture, is full of valuable resources and information for teachers and parents. In fact, it would be a great place for teachers to find informative handouts and information for parents about nutrition. For teachers, this site provides information on current laws and legislature that influence the food choices in our schools, information on recent studies concerning nutrition, and lesson plans on nutrition for each grade level. It also has a link for art about nutrition to hang in the classroom, as well as links to children's books on health and nutrition. (USDA National Agriculture Library, 2014).
USDA National Agriculture Library. (2014). Nutrition Education | Food and Nutrition Information Center. Retrieved from http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/professional-and-career-resources/nutrition-education
Many children are simply picky eaters. No matter how hard you try, some of them will be completely unwilling to try new foods. It is important for teachers to keep in mind that they should never force a child to eat. Pressuring a child to eat will often leave them with negative feelings about trying new foods. Creating a warm environment around nutrition, and constantly talking about healthy foods will gradually encourage picky eaters to overcome fears and try new things. Another solution to this common problem is to start a weekly "new food" snack day. Teachers could provide a new food as a snack, and many pickers will decide to try the new foods as they watch their classmates enjoy them.
Safety is a very important part of any preschool classroom. Not only should teachers provide a safe environment for children, they also must teach children safe habits to use both within and outside of the classroom setting. The classroom must have clear pathways for walking, flat flooring surfaces, rounded edges, and safety locks on plugs and appliances. Children must also be aware of safety rules of the classroom, such as no running or standing on chairs. Finally, teachers must provide students with the knowledge to handle dangerous situations, such as how to safely cross the street, or what to do in case of a fire or emergency.
Provide students with writing paper, which already has their home phone numbers written on it, as well as 911. Instruct students to trace these numbers, as they say them aloud. Discuss with students situations where they would need to have someone call home, and situations where they would have to call 911 Emergency.
Provide each student with one of the clasSroom safety rules. Using markers and paper, have students draw a picture of what could happen if they break that rule. Each student presents their picture to the class, and students discuss the importance of the class safety rules together.
This easy to use site is designed as a one-stop resource for teachers. The site provides objectives on safety for preschool teachers, followed by a check list for the classroom, suggestions for creating a safe indoor and outdoor environment, videos for teachers on student safety, and resources for further information (Virtual Lab School, 2014).
Virtual Lab School. (2014). Providing a Safe Environment Indoors and Outdoors | VLS. Retrieved from https://www.virtuallabschool.org/preschool/safety/lesson-1

Songs for Teaching. (2012). Safety Songs: Children's Songs and Chants that Teach Safe Habits. Retrieved from http://www.songsforteaching.com/safetysongs.htm
This site provides lists of songs about safety, organized by category. The songs are set to familiar tunes, and free to download. There are songs for nearly every safety related topic, including tornado safety, stranger danger, and being safe when riding a bike (Songs for Teaching, 2012).
Have your child help you complete the kid friendly, fire safety checklist at sparky.org. Together, check the fire alarms in your home, and note any potential fire hazards around the house. Then, develop a fire escape plan and an outdoor meeting place for family members. Practice getting out of the house safely in the event of a fire (NFPA, 2014).
NFPA. (2014). fireEscape_01.jpg (1000×1333) | Fire Safety For Kids | Pinterest. Retrieved from http://www.pinterest.com/pin/445012006900715990/
This site empowers children to be responsible for their own safety at home. Parents can log on with their child and discuss safety tips, watch videos, and complete home safety quizzes and assessments. There are games which challenge children to find the hazards in the home, and match safety signs (Mighty Kids Media, 2014).
Mighty Kids Media. (2014). Danger Rangers. Retrieved from http://www.dangerrangers.com/kids_safety_topic.php?id=11
Creating a safe learning environment for students, as well as teaching students to play and learn safely, is all about preparation. However, even the most prepared teachers and students sometimes have accidents. Occasionally, due to carelessness, rule-breaking, and unavoidable occurrences in the classroom, accidents will happen. One resolution to accidents in the classroom is to ensure that students are following rules, at all times. This can be done by clearly posting and referencing them often. Also, children should be aware of a clearly defined punishment for breaking the rules, such as time out, and this punishment should be implemented each time. Children should also be made aware that the rules are in place to keep them safe, and breaking them will not be tolerated. Finally, teachers should be prepared for an accident or emergency. They should know exactly what steps to take in a variety of situations, so that those steps become second nature to them. The key to a safe learning environment is a well prepared teacher.
As teachers, the health, safety, and nutrition of our students should be our constant focus and number one priority. Many think of teachers as simply teaching students their alphabet and numbers, but without a safe environment and healthy children, no learning will occur.
We must also remember that parents are key players in the education of a child, and must be included in health, nutrition, safety, and learning. In order to develop the whole child, we must focus on the family as well. As you can see, creating a safe and healthy learning environment for students is absolutely crucial to their success in learning and development.
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