Our ELC children are learning every day to care for their bodies and part of this learning is encouraging children to recognise when they are thirsty, hungry or full.
Flexible Visual Schedule
At all times children can access water and educators remind children to think about drinking at particular parts of their day to learn healthy habits for life. For example, after lots of exercise to replenish our bodies or after eating to clean our teeth.
Children are encouraged to express if they feel hungry and educators will support children to choose snacks from their packed lunch boxes that will meet their needs. Educators talk through the choices with children, the right foods offered at the right times can play an important role in managing children’s hunger and boost nutrition. For example, choosing a small healthy snack to eat before a main meal or using the schedule to see how long until afternoon tea.
Teaching children healthy habits for a healthy life forms the basis of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines along with the regulations that govern early childhood education (Education and care Services National Regulations) have informed our ELC policy on Food, Nutrition and Beverage. The policy and further information can be viewed in the Food Nutrition and Beverages Policy
This term we have begun offering a wider range of nutritious foods from the five food groups to the children who attend the after core day program. A rotating fortnightly menu has been established and the children are joyously trying many new tastes and sensations!
ELC Afternoon Snack Meal Plan
Our future goal is to regularly plan for our children to prepare an afternoon snack to share with all the children. We’ll keep you posted with how this progresses.
Thank you for the positive feedback from parents who have noticed their children eating foods that they won’t touch at home! What a wonderful way to watch and learn from their peers.
Finally the following Top 10 Tips for Parents around food and children from KidsHealth.org may be of interest to our families.
The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has established a website for parents called The Starting Blocks which provides tips on child development, as well as advice on what to expect in early childhood services.
Thank you to Sarah Noell, Head of the Early Years, for sharing this story.