Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Health Resources for WA's Littlest Learners

Are you looking for ways to encourage and engage young children to build healthy habits?  Check out the following resources for ideas:

Smart from the Start 

Smart from the Start is a nation-wide program designed to teach children the skills they need to make healthy choices about eating and physical activity. This program offers various curricula aimed at preschool-age children in three separate focus areas: 
  • Me and My Choices: Focuses on what is unique and special about each child and how they can make healthy food and physical activity choices.
  • Give It a Try! This focus encourages children to explore a variety of foods and engage in different activities as they learn that trying new things can be fun.  
  • Enrichment Zone: This focus provides activities and ideas for parents and caregivers. These tools help build on the lessons children learned in class so that parents can help enforce healthy habits.
Beyond lessons and curriculum, Smart from the Start offers grant funding for individual child care programs to expand or create physical activity infrastructure and healthy choice programs. The Smart from the Start Grant Awards are designed to encourage early learning professionals to create practical, long-term improvements in nutrition and physical activity at their facility. See more at:

Let's Move!

Lets Move! Child Care (LMCC) is an organization focused on preventing and ending childhood obesity. The LMCC offers obesity prevention resources and tools to child care and early learning professionals. In addition, LMCC has outlined five healthy goal areas:
  • Nurture healthy eaters
  • Provide healthy beverages
  • Increase physical activity
  • Limit screen time
  • Support breastfeeding
One of LMCC’s newest tools is the child care program self-evaluation quiz. After the quiz, you set goals for your program and make an action plan. Once your program has reached its goals, re-take the quiz and celebrate your success. By meeting the goals you set for your program—your program gets identified on LMCC recognition map! To date, 31 child care programs in Washington are participating in the Let’s Move! Child Care healthy goals. Visit the map of recognized providers or check out more information on the Let’s Move! Child Care website. 

Farm to School

Another on-line resource is the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Farm to School Toolkit.  Focused specifically for early learners, the Farm to Preschool toolkit incorporates activities designed to promote locally produced fruits and vegetables in a child care or preschool setting.  Such activities may include:
  • School garden curriculum
  • Class field trips to farms
  • In-class meal-preparation and taste-testing
Child care providers can draw upon young children’s natural curiosity to stimulate interest in local foods and draw connections between multiple areas of learning. The Farm to Preschool program is aimed at preschool age children, in any type of child care setting. Learn more at:

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