Nutrition & Physical Activity Curricula for PreK Teachers


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Presentation from Santa Monica College early Childhood Education course #64. Summer 2009.

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  • Heart disease, etc. are only some of the conditions caused by obesity Over-eating and being sedentary are risk factors
  • Not only a high percentage in childcare, but spending most of their waking hours there too Since more time in childcare, they are eating most meals there too Role of childcare provider very important, kids look up to them for guidance
  • CACFP: example: for breakfast, if choosing 1/2c of fruit/vegetable, make it a fresh fruit, not juice or something canned. Don’t serve sugary cereals. Choose something healthier than the 1/2c equivalent of a roll for the grain/bread category in the meal pattern. Many sites serve food family style to help regulate portions
  • [first 2 bullets a review] Providers should eat healthy meals and drink healthy beverages when working. Remember providers are role models. This is better for your health as well. Integrate nutrition into your routine and make sure chidlren have sufficient PA
  • Different nutrition programs in K-12: Farm to School, gardening programs, CATCH (Coordinated approach to Child Health), many others preK curricula vary too Many never been evaluated, design from educators, RDs, chefs, doctors; sometimes only one and not the other Outdated: some still use VHS and cassette tapes; characters look dated; found one that said occasional lollipops are ok
  • Talk about Giulia’s work Curricula found via: PPTs, online, health –oriented libraries, journal articles (if evaluated), conference talks, word of mouth, recommendations: probably more out there! Free curricula usually from government funded programs; high costs associated with privately developed ones, eg. Lakeshore Learning Will now highlight several of the programs we researched
  • Merced County, Dept of Education, nutrition division; funded by Network for a Healthy CA; developed by educators Currently offered in 25 Merced city state preschools, for past 3 years. No evaluation. HOTM overview : highlight a seasonal fruit or vegetable every month, based on state growing cycles; involve kids through a mix of taste tests, in-class cooking, gardening (opt), visits from farmers (or to farms), in-class activities, newsletters to parents Resources include: activity packets, parent newsletters (most in Spanish), educator newsletters (general HOTM) Components : book reading, followed by interactive, age-appropriate questions and an activity, based on art, math or science. Designed to complement Houghton Mifflin Where Bright Future Begins but can be used alone in its entirety
  • Title page of one month. Each wk highlights a book related to the vegetable, followed by activities (class questions, then interactive in-class structured activity) Ex: read book. Talk about elements in the book. Do an art activity (paint a cabbage) or PA related to the F/V. One wk could have taste test of several different cruciferous vegetables. Another week could have a food prep. One taste test a month. And 1-2 cooking experiences in class after the activity. See handout being passed around.
  • Developed by early childhood educators, along with professors of Keene College in New Hampshire (behavioral psychologists, plant biologists) Aligned with New Hampshire state stds and NAEYC stds) Currently offered in 10 preschools in NH, including Head Starts Seed to table approach : plan a garden in the early spring, sprout seeds and plant seedlings; harvest and enjoy End of wk, children pack of a family recipe kit with recipes and ingredients Evaluation is ongoing- completed 2 years of a 3 year study
  • Gardening activities include not only planting, but agriculture education: identifying parts of the plant, examining the vegetable, learning new words to describe the F/V. In-class: ex: may have picked tomatoes and talked abut tomato plants when outside. When inside, may let kids cut tomatoes with a plastic knife, talking about tomato skins, looking at the seeds, talking about feeling, tasting, and smelling the tomato. Also talk about washing hands and washing the produce. Each wk has a sensory exploration activity and a cooking activity. See book being passed around.
  • Supports Missouri’s Show Me Educational Stds, developed by U Missouri Extension Curriculum is preK with separate curricula for other age groups This one also includes healthy habits like washing hands before eating Each topic, such as Oliver’s Vegetables (see next slide), are made up of several activities, total time 30-45 minutes Instead of just an objective, divides it into knowledge and behavioral objectives. Parents get a handout after each lesson talking about what the kids learned and how to follow-up with the lesson at home, ranging from questions to ask your kids, suggested activities related to the lesson, suggested books to read at home, and recipes.
  • Lists out objectives, supplies needed, length of time, questions to ask, some songs to sing, physical activity example here is to mimic Oliver picking vegetables (is this really PA?). Food prep activities are not necessarily fresh produce. One example is to spread CC on a tortilla, top with broccoli (fresh) for a veggie pizza. See binder being passed around.
  • Developed by: NYS Dept of Health as a childhood obesity prevention project for NY’s CACFP Has been used for 10 years throughout the state Has been used in conjunction with community projects, such as parent fun nights, walkathons, etc Topics include: Food Mood, Vary Your Veggies, Flavorful Fruit, Dairylicious, Smart Snacking, Fitness is Fun, etc. Also includes almost 30 recipes
  • Each lesson includes: prep time, activity time, parent handout, goal, objectives, activities, supplies needed. EX: Vary Your Veggies includes for it’s activities: Let’s Vote: Touch, Taste, Smell, and See; Local Vegetables Placemat, Let’s Cook Green Beans EX: parents get: Parent Pages with recipes and ideas, a 1-hour workshop with 3 activities ( Get Fresh with Vegetables : storage tips, food stamps program info, play a FM DVD, ; Enjoying Vegetables : brainstorm session about what veggies preschoolers eat and how to get them to eat more; some activities can involve children too) See binder being passed around.
  • Developed by Shasta County Dept of Public Health, through funding from the Network for a Healthy CA Uses the MyPyramid scheme Has nutrition and PA lesson cards They recommend repeating PA so that children can improve their gross motor skills. Recommend 1 nutrition lesson a week. Activities were developed to meet the DRDP-r (Desired Results Developmental Profile-revised) Each activity pared with a nutrition and PA exercise Parent newsletters, flipcharts for parent education workshops, Some materials translated into Spanish See handout being passed around
  • This slide shows two of the handouts: Healthy Snacks for parents to take home plus activities for parents to improve consumption of F/V, and develop a range of skills (math, science, physical development, language development, etc) Indoor Physical Activity Suggestions: 5 pages of easy to set up and perform activities for kids at home Also uses puppets, F/V flashcards, handwashing and taste test charts for children to track in school See website for more handouts and details, chock full of information
  • Developed by the National Gardening Association Designed for young children, not specific to preK See handout being passed around.
  • Includes: Booklet of 6 classroom activities, a produce wheel, seed packets, and soil Wheel: nutrient levels for various F/V Similar concept to Early Sprouts, but not as involved curriculum, This is more of a guideline of things to do. Activities involve : the wheel, taste tests, art, touching experiences, smelling, science-based
  • Developed by specialists: obesity prevention, physical fitness, cardiovascular health, curriculum development Used in many states around the country (not sure if still in use, difficult to tell when developed) Have had Train the Trainer workshops
  • Includes over 60 activities, CD, poster set, and take home activities Each unit has a different animal theme, such as : Maria the Monkey, Harry the Horse Each practices different skills: throwing and catching for the monkey, galloping for the horse See handout being passed around.
  • Is being designed to be a “learning center” for preK providers in any setting (home, center, preschool, school district, etc.) Can now access the CD-ROM Website should be available in the fall. DoE is looking for volunteers to pilot test the site before launching. Please give me your contact information if you are interested
  • CD-ROM has interactive features to click on: Fall Fruits and Vegetables, Winter F?V, Grains, Snacks, Proteins, Books (resources), songs, etc. Many ideas for teachers to incorporate. See handout being passed around
  • After extensive research, determined the Merced County HOTM curriculum was comprehensive and well-planned While an objective decision, this is will go hand-in-hand with our new HOTM 100 launch (elementary level) and the Farm to School national program
  • Lunch Box series : healthy and safe lunch ideas based on USDA’s MyPyramid (disclaimer for using the pyramid method) Nibbles for Health: parent newsletters, printable posters, guides for parent workshops Helping Kids Eat Well & Be Active : online booklet with detailed instructions on how to create nutritional bulletin boards. See handout being passed around.
  • HOTM : parent newsletters, educator newsletters, community newsletters, menu “slicks” (menu template with HOTM featured produce info), printable posters From the LA Collaborative (community-based network run by Nutrition program of the LA County Dept of Public Health): HOTM educational resources preK-12 plus physical activities Network for a Healthy CA : state Dept of Public Health program. for low-income families, nutritional and PA resources, programs, grants, community events. Includes HOTM. CA Project LEAN : LEAN= leaders encouraging activity and nutrition. Another state dept program, in conjunction with the Public Health Institute.
  • Haven’t talked too much about physical activity Many preschoolers do not have a standardized routine or minimum daily exposure to PA Consider establishing this in your school WELLNESS POLICY: establish one, integrate PA and nutrition
  • Children at this age learn from sensory experiences (touching, tasting) You don’t need to have a lot of outdoor space to grow a garden Many options for growing fruits and vegetables Growing kits: can include soil, seeds, instructional guides Wheelbarrows: used by the Health Education Council in Northern CA Filtrexx socks : contained mesh “socks” for gardening on e.g. concrete
  • Many underserved areas lack access to fresh F/V. Huge problem in LA. Fresh produce is more expensive, low quality, and not local. People must dirve or take buses to get access. Fewer grocery stores of any size (convenience store to supermarket) in low income areas than wealthier areas. Usually coupled with an influx of fast food restaurants. Barrier: perceived to be expensive. In stores it can be, now FM opening in low income areas, accepting EBT.
  • There are urban farms in the LA area. FM: as said, opening in poor areas, accepting EBT Farmers: schools can work directly with farmers for supply CSA: community supported agriculture: farm produce provided to families through schools, or used in schools Food distributers: some vendor locally produced food and then provide in bulk to e.g. school districts (Compton Unified for one).
  • Review elements of the programs we’ve discussed What could work in your setting? Talk to each other about things you’ve tried, wanted to try, or are now motivated to try Compare notes on how to get parents involved what’s worked for you or what do you envision working? Depending on time, several groups will present their ideas
  • Nutrition & Physical Activity Curricula for PreK Teachers

    1. 1. Fighting Childhood Obesity creative ways to improve preschoolers’ nutrition and physical activity Zoe Phillips, MPH, CHES Center for Food & Justice, Occidental College
    2. 2. Childhood Obesity <ul><li>Childhood obesity is considered to be in epidemic proportions </li></ul><ul><li>Children as young as age 3 being diagnosed </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing trend for past 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Type II diabetes- used to be adult onset only, now includes children </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly due to over-eating and being sedentary; some genetics </li></ul>
    3. 3. Childcare Settings <ul><li>Almost 40% children in L.A. County (aged 0-5) in childcare </li></ul><ul><li>Many preschool-aged children eat most of their meals during childcare </li></ul><ul><li>Children develop strong relationships with their childcare providers </li></ul><ul><li>Providers are role models for children </li></ul><ul><li>Childcare settings have enormous potential to positively influence children’s diets and physical activity levels </li></ul>
    4. 4. Nutrition in Childcare <ul><li>Every meal and snack counts when children are under your care </li></ul><ul><li>Current beverage recommendations are milk and water; discourage juice </li></ul><ul><li>If reimbursed under CACFP, think about surpassing, rather than just meeting, guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s food preferences are formed during these years </li></ul><ul><li>Have an innate ability to self-regulate their food intake </li></ul>
    5. 5. Improving Nutrition <ul><li>Offer healthy meals and snacks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When possible, get seasonal produce </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Offer healthy beverages </li></ul><ul><li>Offer foods repeatedly – don’t get discouraged </li></ul><ul><li>Eat with children and eat healthily </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate a nutrition program or activities into your routine </li></ul><ul><li>Involve parents and help educate them </li></ul>
    6. 6. Nutrition-Based Programs <ul><li>Nutrition and garden-based programs well established in K-12 </li></ul><ul><li>Preschool curricula comes in all shapes and sizes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spotty design and evaluation methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many outdated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variable topics and activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many childcare settings are doing nutrition-related activities but not considered a “program” </li></ul>
    7. 7. Nutrition-Based Programs <ul><li>CFJ researched almost 40 different curricula </li></ul><ul><li>Come in many shapes and sizes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrition only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrition + physical activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Garden-based learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General guidelines or specific lesson plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Range from free of charge to over $400 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific to a region, state, ethnicity, or general </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Range from requiring little prep to sewing puppets </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Merced Harvest of the Month <ul><li>Follows “HOTM” for K-12 but developed for preschoolers </li></ul><ul><li>Resources for preschool educators to support healthy food choices </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: free </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly lessons for 12 months: ~30 minutes each </li></ul><ul><li>Book reading and an activity (art or math and science) correlated with food of the month </li></ul><ul><li>Components: children’s books, activities, taste tests, and food experiences </li></ul>
    9. 9. Curriculum: Activity Packets
    10. 10. Early Sprouts <ul><li>Research-based garden curriculum learning about, growing, and eating vegetables through a “seed to table” approach </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: $16.47 ( </li></ul><ul><li>24-week curriculum with 1 lesson per week </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lessons focus on a vegetable/fruit for 30-60 min </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes multiple recipes for each item </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Components: sensory exploration activity followed by a recipe and cooking activity </li></ul>
    11. 11. Curriculum: single book
    12. 12. Show Me Nutrition <ul><li>Encourages children to try new foods and make healthy choices </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: $50 </li></ul><ul><li>Eleven lessons: book on healthy eating, a physical activity, food-tasting activity, “healthy habits” activity, and parent newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>Components: children’s books, taste tests, and food experiences </li></ul>
    13. 13. Curriculum: Booklet and CD
    14. 14. Eat Well Play Hard: In a Childcare Setting <ul><li>NY State Department of Health nutrition program </li></ul><ul><li>Aims to increase physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: Free </li></ul><ul><li>Ten topics with 5 lessons each (15 min) </li></ul><ul><li>Resources for parent nutrition education </li></ul><ul><li>Components: food experience and activities </li></ul>
    15. 15. Curriculum: Online Book
    16. 16. Healthy Beginnings <ul><li>Promotes development of good nutrition and physical activity </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: most resources online for free </li></ul><ul><li>Thirteen nutrition based lessons, 9 physical activity lessons, 12 yoga poses </li></ul><ul><li>Components: food experiences, taste tests, and nutrition games, physical activities </li></ul>
    17. 17. Curriculum: Online Downloads
    18. 18. Eat a Rainbow Kit <ul><li>Standards-based and hands-on teaching tool designed to boost kids’ enjoyment of healthful foods </li></ul><ul><li>Not specifically for preK but modifiable </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: $39.95 (“Deluxe Kit”) </li></ul><ul><li>Six garden- and taste-based classroom activities </li></ul><ul><li>Components: gardening activities with provided soil, seeds, vegetable wheel </li></ul>
    19. 19. Curriculum: Booklet & Planting Kit
    20. 20. Animal Trackers <ul><li>Physical activity and motor skills development </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: $79.95 </li></ul><ul><li>Ten units devoted entirely to motor skill development, each with a different animal theme </li></ul><ul><li>Components: physical activities for both in-class and for families at home </li></ul>
    21. 21. Curriculum: Book & Music CD
    22. 22. Food for Thought: Nutrition Across the Curriculum <ul><li>CA state Dept of Education-hosted website under construction </li></ul><ul><li>CD-ROM available; cost: $19.95 </li></ul><ul><li>Thirty-two nutrition lessons with related classroom activities and books </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporates food experiences and recipes </li></ul><ul><li>Components: nutrition activities, math and science experiences, children’s books </li></ul><ul><li>Will offer teaching credits through online classes </li></ul>
    23. 23. Curriculum: CD-ROM
    24. 24. Farm to Preschool Program <ul><li>Center for Food & Justice, Occidental College </li></ul><ul><li>Two year grant-funded pilot program </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate relationships with farmers, farmers’ markets, or local food distributors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Change meal and snack offerings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide nutrition education for children and parents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-class activities, parent fun “nights” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Train teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation tools for dissemination </li></ul>
    25. 25. Informational Flyer
    26. 26. Curriculum <ul><li>Modifying the Merced County prek HOTM </li></ul><ul><li>Providing activity kits to pilot sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Books, lessons, recipes, taste test ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Farmer in the Classroom, field trips </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive parent outreach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fun nights (workshops): Doc Talks, nutrition presentations (healthy eating, reading labels, portion distortion, etc), taste tests, cooking demos, booths with handouts, Fresh Food Access Guide, HOTM newsletters </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Online Resources <ul><li>UC Davis Cooperative Extension: The Lunch Box series for preschoolers </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>USDA’s Nibbles for Health </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Contra Costa Child Care Council: Helping Kids Eat Well & Be Active </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    28. 28. More Online Resources <ul><li>Harvest of the Month </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Network for a Healthy California </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>California Project LEAN </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    29. 29. HOTM Teacher Training <ul><li>Beyond the Basics- Nutrition Education Strategies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Training session of PreK Harvest of the Month Toolkit for teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Offered through the L.A. County Dept of Public Health </li></ul><ul><li>On August 4 th , Downey (8:45am) </li></ul><ul><li>Website to RSVP: </li></ul>
    30. 30. Nutrition Programs-Components <ul><li>Meal and snack recipes </li></ul><ul><li>Harvest of the Month </li></ul><ul><li>Food preparation (food “experiences”) </li></ul><ul><li>Taste tests </li></ul><ul><li>Cooking demos </li></ul><ul><li>Field trips </li></ul><ul><li>In-class and special event presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Lesson plans and/or planned physical activity </li></ul><ul><li>Parent education </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential learning through gardening and field trips </li></ul>
    31. 31. Physical Activity Programs-Components <ul><li>Yoga poses </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive games </li></ul><ul><li>Music-based </li></ul><ul><li>Indoor/outdoor </li></ul><ul><li>Family activity tipsheets </li></ul><ul><li>Special equipment/everyday items </li></ul><ul><li>Stand-alone or paired with nutrition </li></ul>
    32. 32. Garden-Based Programs- Components <ul><li>Sensory experiences (experiential learning) </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional guide/soil and seeds </li></ul><ul><li>Many options: growing kits, wheelbarrows, filtrexx gardensoxx, containers, composting </li></ul><ul><li>Physical activity </li></ul><ul><li>Gardening/cooking activities </li></ul><ul><li>Recipes for families </li></ul><ul><li>Limitation: dedicated upkeep </li></ul><ul><li>Myth: you need space for a garden </li></ul>
    33. 33. Benefits of Fresh Food <ul><li>Food deserts: lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables </li></ul><ul><li>Barrier: perceived to be expensive </li></ul><ul><li>More nutritious </li></ul><ul><li>Tastes better </li></ul><ul><li>Eating fresh produce should become a life-long habit </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy habits lead to a longer life </li></ul>
    34. 34. Beyond Fresh Food- Go Local <ul><li>Good for the economy </li></ul><ul><li>Support family/small/medium farms and good farming practices </li></ul><ul><li>Food at its freshest – tastes better </li></ul><ul><li>Better for the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Can and should be affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Access points: farmers’ markets, farmers, CSA boxes, food distributors…SCHOOLS </li></ul>
    35. 35. Workgroup Activity <ul><li>Separate into small groups </li></ul><ul><li>Identify nutritional program elements that are important to you and your childcare setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about activities involving children and their parents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Establish an action plan of how you would implement this program or related activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Budget constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Available time and resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be ambitious but realistic </li></ul></ul>
    36. 36. In Summary <ul><li>Take advantage of your influence on children </li></ul><ul><li>Help improve the health and diets of young children </li></ul><ul><li>Help form preferences for fresh fruits and vegetables </li></ul><ul><li>Improve your own diet and nutrition knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Get to know your parent-base and get them excited </li></ul><ul><li>Have fun when planning and implementing activities </li></ul>
    37. 37. Contact Info <ul><li>Zoe Phillips: Occidental College (Eagle Rock) </li></ul><ul><li>323-341-5098 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>* Many thanks to Giulia Pasciuto for research on nutrition curricula* </li></ul><ul><li>Contact me for : </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Materials and resources </li></ul><ul><li>Further reading </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer for Dept of Ed. pilot testing </li></ul><ul><li>Networking </li></ul>