Nutrition Education Goals
Recommendations from major organizations such as the American Dietetic Association, United States Department of Agriculture (Team Nutrition), Cooperative Extension, and Head Start were considered, as well as advice from experts in child nutrition to develop four major nutrition objectives for the Celebrate Healthy Eating modules. The curricular suggestions on this Web site are to provide educators and caregivers with ideas and activities so that they can help young children:
- accept and enjoy a variety of healthful foods, especially fruits and vegetables and whole grain cereals.
- develop eating habits important to good nutrition and compatible to cultural and family life.
- develop skills and positive attitudes about helping at meals and with cooking.
- begin to connect that food and exercise are important to good health
Celebrate Healthy Eating follows a holistic, integrated approach where you, as an educator, can fit nutrition education into common preschool themes in a developmentally appropriate manner. It follows preschool and kindergarten goals for learning of literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. Since most child care and preschool environments have children eat meals and/or snack on a daily basis, nutrition education opportunities can easily fit into daily or weekly routines throughout the year. Outside of the classroom, children can receive nutrition education through early childhood professionals, child care providers, parents, grandparents, and other adults who care for children.
Celebrate Healthy Eating was guided by the principles of The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood (1) which specifies goals and objectives in three areas of development: socio-emotional development, cognitive (learning) development, and physical development.
The Creative Curriculum is written for educators in a variety of early childhood settings, but their guiding principles could also be useful for parents. The Creative Curriculum suggests a physical environment that has interest areas (or centers) such as blocks, house corner, and art, to name a few.
Additionally, consistency in schedules and routines are promoted which may include circle time, transition times, rest times, and mealtimes. This approach to early childhood education is in full compliance with the recommendations of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as described in Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs (2).