PPDC offers a minimum of breakfast, lunch, dinner and three snacks each day. Our four-week, rotating menus are reviewed by a registered dietitian and meet USDA guidelines. Our menus are available to parents and we post alerts with pictures of children who have dietary restrictions in the classroom and in the kitchen to ensure that appropriate substitutions are made.
Our Initiative to Address Childhood Obesity
One of several initiatives that Precious People Daycare launched in 2014 was a program to address childhood obesity. We revamped our menus, trained our staff, and created materials and activities for children to further their understanding of the importance of healthy food choices and daily exercise.
At PPDC, we are devoted to advocacy issues related to children and families. Recently our community has been bombarded from a variety of media sources with a great deal of research proving that childhood obesity is on the rise.
The research tells us that childrens’ obesity issues are more affected by lack of exercise and an increased lack of general mobility than by the food they eat. Watching television and riding instead of walking contribute to their ongoing problem.
Although diet is a factor, it is important to note that young children’s nutritional needs are different than adults. A good example of this is when your child is still developing. They need more fat in their diet than adults do. Fat assists the brain synapses to integrate more fully.
As early childhood educators, we also know that a young child’s capacity for learning new skills and concepts is formed early. The foundation we lay for their healthy social, physical, and intellectual skills can serve them well for the rest of their lives. When parents and early childhood educators collaborate in the effort, it can make a huge difference in our children’s lives.
Therefore, we would like you to know about the specific strategies we are using to address childhood obesity at PPDC:
- We have incorporated exercise, music and movement activities into our daily lesson plans so that all children have the opportunity to be active. These activities are offered indoors during inclement weather.
- Outdoor playtime is scheduled at least twice a day.
- At mealtime, preschool children and teachers use family-style food service. Teachers sit with children and talk with them about the food they are enjoying and what healthy foods do for our bodies.
- Children do not watch television at our center. We offer real-world, interactive learning experiences that foster healthy social and emotional development.
- Because children’s brains need lots of water, it is always available to them in the classroom and outdoors.
- Healthy eating habits begin early in life. We have integrated learning activities related to nutrition and the new Food Pyramid Guide for Young Children ages 2 – 6 into our curriculum. We have developed a learning kit, “Discover the Taste,” for healthy food choices that are available. This kit offers additional resources to help children understand the different food groups and the benefits of choosing healthy foods for our bodies.
- We have revamped our menus to incorporate healthier food choices that young children enjoy. These new menus include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and yogurt.
We know that the health and welfare of your child is of the utmost concern to you and your family. We share that concern at PPDC. Together we can win the battle against childhood obesity and ensure that our children lead happy, healthy and productive lives.