“I created little health monsters…!”
So long cookie monster, hello cute health monsters. Becky Hagestuen, owner and primary care provider for Seeds to Grow Licensed Day Care in Andover, is conscientious about development of strong foundations for those in her care. “As a child care provider, I strive to meet the children’s physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs. This includes providing nutritious foods and ensuring they get plenty of exercise-including all season outside playtime and free play, which is important for their imagination and overall development.”
When Becky saw that Anoka County Child Care Licensing, in partnership with Community Health and Environmental Services, was offering training in I am Moving, I am Learning (IMIL) and Learning about Nutrition through Activities (LANA) curriculums she jumped at the opportunity. “I encourage all child care providers to attend these trainings – they’ve been incredibly helpful on many levels,” commented Becky. Even though Becky already had a strong nutrition program at her day care, the training taught her more effective ways to incorporate a greater variety of fruits and vegetables into food offered and activities to involve the children in meal preparation. “The recipe book has been great –it opened my creativity and gave me different cooking activities to do with the kids. Recently I bought a pineapple and set it in the middle table and let the kids brainstorm what it was, prompting them with questions such as, ‘what color do you think is on inside?’”
“They kids love the Choosy DVDS – it’s been huge,” remarked Becky, “In one of the songs, they show a food item and ask the kids, ‘good for me or no?’ Then the kids will respond ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” The DVD spawned a new system in Becky’s daycare. She has started implementing this system everywhere, asking the kids before they eat, “is this good for me or no?” In addition to identifying more nutritious foods, the kids at Seeds to Grow are also learning why the more nutritious foods are good for them. “After the Choosy Kids video – the kids understand the food and body connection, they know that when you eat better, you can run faster and jump higher.”
Beyond incorporating more physical activity and nutrition practices into her child care curriculum, Becky also formalized these practices into child care policies for her organization. “The policy puts into writing what I already practice, and helps hold me accountable to it moving forward,” commented Becky. “The formalized health policies have been well received among parents,” she noted. The benefits of increased nutrition standards go beyond the walls of Seeds to Grow Day Care, “one of the parents told me, ‘my daughter gets after me when I drink pop now!’” Becky chuckles at this story and concludes, “Yes, I’ve created little health monsters.”
Read about the Statewide Health Improvement Program and how it is working to make the healthy choice the easty choice for Minnesotans.