At Get Healthy Philly, our Healthy Early Childhood Coordinator, Shannon Dryden has been conducting messaging regarding the Philadelphia Board of Health Recommendations around Beverages and Screen Time in Early Childhood Settings. Sharing information at the Southeast Regional Key monthly provider meeting was a great opportunity to start conversations about healthy practices and have a little fun. We have also been able to provide PHL Pre-K educators with training around the recommendations most recently on “Reducing Screen Time”. Highlights included thoughtful discussion, a movement break with teachers and educators participating in a silly dance to “The Banana Song”, and hearing all of the great practices that centers already have in place! This has been an ongoing theme as the recommendations are shared with all providers who continue to highlight improving nutrition and physical activity through their own stories:
“At the Children’s Community School in west Philly, we have a well established practice of not only offering children a variety of fresh and whole foods, but also involving them actively in the creation of their food—for instance, baking fresh bread together, helping harvest fresh veggies from our garden, loading the rice cooker with whole grains for a warm winter snack, etc. Our teachers, however, are eager for more training on the specifics of early childhood nutrition; we’re excited to work with a nutritionist in January!” – Jarrod Green, Children’s Community School
“…being a diabetic I base my menu for the kids off of what I think is both healthy and tasty. That way the kids are eating healthy and they enjoy it at the same time.” – Connie Mathis-Dunston, Mrs. Connie’s Daycare
“The children at Nicole’s Family Child Care adhere to the Let’s Move Campaign! We have increased physical activity as well as learned new and exciting ways to make healthy food choices. We involved all are families by hosting walking trips and providing resources such as coupons to purchase healthy food at our local supermarket.” – Nicole Bamba, Nicole’s Family Childcare
“Two vegetables, two fruits, two whole-grain menu items, and two lean proteins are found every day at Children’s Village between breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack, representing a variety of cultures present within the center. Menus are planned by the kitchen team, and reviewed by a committee of toddler, preschool, and school-age teachers along with administrative staff and parent representatives. Teachers model nutritious eating practices by discussing and introducing unfamiliar foods and demonstrating openness and curiosity about them at mealtimes.” – Zaina Keenan, Children’s Village
Early childhood education providers already have many great practices in place and the Board of Health recommendations open the door for continued conversation, reflection, and growth for our educators.