The early years (birth - 5 years old) are a time when food habits are being developed, many of which will be retained throughout life. Food should not only be nutritious, it should also help to meet the social, cultural and educational needs of the children. This learning environment can be enhanced by the inclusion of carefully chosen food awareness learning experiences (Caring for Children, 2014, p.5).
Therefore our service uses the Caring for Children resource to guide our health and nutrition practices at our service. This resource provides practical information and best practice guidelines on healthy eating and nutrition for the early childhood education and care setting (from birth to 5 years of age). It is based on three key national health documents that focus on children, namely:
• The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) which provide up-to-date advice about the amounts and kinds of foods that we need to eat for health and wellbeing. They are based on scientific evidence and research.
• The Infant Feeding Guidelines (2012) which provide advice about breastfeeding and infant feeding.
• Get Up & Grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood (2009) which provides practical information and advice on early childhood healthy eating and physical activity, how to develop nutrition and physical activity policies and ways to support and encourage staff, educators and families. This resource is designed to be used by anyone caring for children.
As part of our Health and Nurtition Programs at our service, in combination with using the Caring for Children Resource, we aim to teach children about;