What could be more fun that creating art while being physically active? An upcoming book by MaryAnn Kohl and Barbara Zaboroski shows how to do just that in ways that encourage children to make choices and control art medium in active ways. I had a sneak preview of Action ART: Hands-on active art adventure and look forward to doing the activities where children get to manipulate materials and make changes, learning about material properties and their own abilities.
Being active is one part of being healthy. Kindergarten teacher and blogger Gail Poulin voices an issue that concerns me too—how we can support children in making healthy food choices when family-packed and school lunches contain enough calorie dense sweet treats to satisfy children’s hunger before they get to the healthier choices of vegetables and healthy proteins?
Modeling the desired behavior makes the healthy choice visible. Teachers can talk about how much they enjoy the crunch of carrots or the flavor of whole grains. A lesson that involves families can support beginning steps towards making food choices that focus on whole grains and vegetable–foods that the USDA and the American Heart Association recommend.
The Early Sprouts curriculum has many choices for activities that include families. An entire year’s curriculum is designed to involve children and families in a seed-to-table experience, broadening their knowledge of and exposure to six target vegetables. They call on us to say if we “like” a food, or if we “don’t like it yet.” (I’ve adopted this practice in experiences with worms and insects–“I have touched a worm” and “I haven’t touched a worm yet.”)
I stand to write on the computer at home to make it easier for me to move, thanks to the advice of a physical therapist. There are many times when we move chairs out of the way so children can stand and move around to work at a table. What kinds of changes have you made to your program to support activity and healthy food choices?
The November 2014 issue of Young Children, a journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, focuses on nutrition and fitness for all young children. In the article, “Preventing Childhood Obesity: Strategies to Help Preschoolers Develop Healthy Eating Habits,” Dr. Brent McBride and Dr. Dipti Dev urge us to help children recognize their own internal cues of hunger and fullness by asking “Are you full?” or saying, “You can have more if you are hungry.” This respects and supports children’s self-regulation of the food they need to fuel their bodies and increases the likelihood that children will make healthy eating decisions.
Do you have strategies for being active or eating healthy choices that you have adopted or practice in your early childhood program?