Early Childhood Education
Program and Purpose
The Alameda County Nutrition Services Early Childhood Education Nutrition Program Activity began in 2013. The program reaches preschool students, their families, and staff. Partners have included Head Starts, WIC and University of California Cooperative Extension.
The program’s purpose is to support sites to create, pass and implement nutrition and physical activity policies and best practices. Policies may include increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and more physical activity throughout the day. Ideas are also shared for healthy lifestyles at home to increase physical activity and reduce screen time.
The long-range goal is to help prevent chronic disease and improve long-term health for families at the early childhood sites and surrounding communities.
Vision for Success
To measure the positive impact, we envision that 100% of the children at participating early childcare sites will benefit from the implementation of a wellness policy and/or updated healthy practices. Additionally, we like to see teachers/staff, children and families learn and practice healthy living as a result of the policy. Nutrition Services staff partner with sites on strategies to implement goals and ways to promote and implement the policy with both site staff and families.
The following are strategies that may be used to meet the goals on behalf of young children:
- Use the Creating Healthy Opportunities in Child Care Environments (CHOICES) manual to assess current nutrition and physical activity policies and practices.
- ECE staff create health improvement goals for their site and assist with creation, promotion and implementation of policies and practices.
- ECE teachers learn fun and interactive ways to teach healthy eating (habits) to children and their families.