Here at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, we believe a healthy eating and a good exercise regimen is vitally important for young children. With that in mind, we have adopted the ‘Startwell’ programme, which has been rolled out across the Birmingham area. The programme is aimed at Early Years settings like ours, health professionals and parents. After all, we should all try to play our part in creating a healthy environment for children to grow up in, whether at home or at nursery or pre-school. We have already achieved levels 1 and 2 in the programme.
The Startwell programme’s 7 key aims:
- To demonstrate good behaviour and be a good role model for children;
- For children to snack just twice a day as part of a healthy eating lifestyle;
- For children to accomplish 3 hours of physical activity every day;
- To give children food portion sizes that are right for them;
- For children to try to avoid sitting still for prolonged periods of time;
- For children to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day;
- To encourage improvement in children’s movement and motor skills.
We’ll explain each of the 7 aims in more detail …
Demonstrating good behaviour to be a good role model
Children learn by copying what they see around them. As a parent or adult involved in the child’s life, it is therefore vitally important that the behaviours they see and copy are positive. At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, for example, we eat fruit and vegetables together at snack time and involve the children in having fun while preparing food. We’d also like to encourage parents to share meal times together when at home with the family. Another example is sharing physical activity together to encourage motor skills and coordination. This can be great fun when it’s made part of a game and it only takes a few small changes to make a difference.
Snacking only twice a day for healthy eating
Our little ones have smaller stomachs than adults, so naturally need less food. However, it’s also important for them to keep up their energy levels during the day. In view of this, the children at the nursery follow the Startwell guidelines on healthy eating. As part of this, they have two snacks a day in addition to their three meals. Importantly, they’re healthy snacks, like fruit, vegetables, rice cakes or toast. There are plenty more healthy snack ideas on the Startwell site — [… READ MORE]