Nutrition and Physical Activity
Children’s physical well-being plays a fundamental part in their learning and development. For this reason we aim to provide a programme where all members of the community at Collectively Kids have the opportunity to learn about, and take part in experiences which will promote physical health. Nutrition and physical activity are essential aspects of this.
Management and teachers focus on providing relevant information for parents and whānau. On enrolment families/whānau receive the nutrition and physical activity policy, a healthy lunch hand-out, a breastfeeding and bottle policy for younger children and a Ministry of Health booklet about nutrition.
Physical health (including nutrition and physical activity) is regularly addressed within newsletters, in displays, in conversation, as well as forming part of annual and strategic planning.
Nutrition and health are promoted within the centre curriculum and incorporated into centre planning. Children have access to books, displays and everyday experiences such as food preparation, shopping as well as planting and harvesting. Documentation of individual and groups of children sometimes addresses issues to do with nutrition and health.
Food at the centre:
The kinds of foods we provide at the centre link to our environment policy. As much as possible we try to buy locally sourced, organic (e.g. ooooby fruit boxes) and seasonal foods. We purchase fair trade products when possible. We buy many of our foods from a bulk food shop to reduce packaging waste. We review and increase the amount of healthy snack food purchased and prepared at the centre. We provide few processed foods and have an extensive list of recipes to use with the children. Foods regularly made at Collectively Kids (or by teachers at home) include yoghurt, homemade jams, bread, nut and seed butters, hummus, crackers, baked beans, soup, dahl, fritters, pikelets, omelette as well as variety of vegetable sauces for couscous, pasta and rice.
We aim to provide a wide range of safe, healthy, age appropriate and appetising foods from all the major food groups at snack times (foods high in salt, sugar and fats are provided only occasionally).
Our approach to daily food preparation is flexible (we do not plan menus) but most foods in the pantry, fridge and freezer are suitable for everyday consumption. Snacks are recorded on the roll and teachers are asked to check records daily so that children have access to a variety of familiar and unfamiliar food and parents have the opportunity to read what food was offered during the day.
We cater for family/whānau and individual dietary requirements and respect cultural values about food.
Families/whānau may supply all food for their child, including party food, if this is their preference (for instance in the case of severe allergies) as long these foods fall within the nutrition policy. A list of food allergies and intolerances is displayed in the kitchen and in kitchenette in the under two area.
We limit the use of food as rewards to exceptional circumstances and using these only over short timeframes (e.g. initial toilet training).
We provide children with information and guidelines for safe food handling and ensure that adults at the centre are familiar with these procedures through courses, displays and literature.
Food and snack times
Snacks and water:
Water is available at all times and is provided in the outdoor area in the summer months.
Snacks are generally provided by the centre, although families sometimes bring in food to share particularly for birthdays. Snacks are available for most of the morning and afternoon in the over two area and made available according to individual need or requirements for infants and toddlers. Plates are regularly topped up.
Children wash hands and sit to eat at the food/kai table or on a mat. They are offered a wide variety of foods and are encouraged to have little tastes of new and unfamiliar foods. It is expected that most children (particularly younger children) will eat at some point during the morning/afternoon.
Children put rubbish in rubbish and compost containers. Damp cloths for wiping hands and faces after eating are available if needed. Children are encouraged to finish food from their lunchboxes at afternoon snack time.
Expectations for lunch:
Children bring their own packed lunches. Families/whānau are asked to name all food containers including lids to avoid confusion. They are advised to place named food, which requires heating or chilling in the fridge in the under or over two area. The centre provides water and organic milk. Younger children sit down in a group at lunch time and are supervised while eating. Older children have the opportunity to eat together on a mat inside or at a mat or table outside.
We encourage children who eat solids to bring a healthy lunch with a variety of small items (no chocolate or sweets), appropriate for their age and individual dietary requirements. Water and organic milk is offered. Older children are expected to eat some savoury food first. Teachers supervise children at the table at lunch times. They use this opportunity to discuss nutrition, manners and other matters related to making food times more pleasant and healthy for everyone. Uneaten lunch is sent home if possible. Older children are responsible for putting rubbish, lunchboxes and dirty dishes away.
Families/whānau are welcome to provide a cake for birthday celebrations. Every party celebration includes fruit, rice/corn/homemade crackers or popcorn (offered before the cake) and water. Families/whānau are asked about party food in the induction questionnaire. If families are not happy with some foods being offered to children (for example sweets on rare occasions) this is respected and those children are given other appetising food options. Children with food allergies or intolerances have their own party food (provided by families) which is stored in a named and dated container in the freezer.
Teachers aim to support healthy eating habits and children’s nutritional health generally by:
Modelling healthy food habits as much as possible (e.g. eating healthy food in front of children, and “sometimes” food just sometimes, sitting and eating with children when this is possible, engaging in discussions about food and health and promoting understandings of health and well-being for instance of fullness and hunger).
Ensuring that they handle food and drinks (including bottles) in a safe and hygienic manner, washing hands frequently and carefully.
Whenever possible teachers sit down while eating (avoiding snacking on the run) and join children during food times.
The preparation of teachers’ lunches should not impact on the supervision of and interaction with children and lunch time.
As an environmentally sustainable centre we encourage families/whānau to aim for rubbish free lunchboxes. Currently most non-recyclable rubbish is sent back in lunchboxes however over the next year or so (as part of a waste minimisation project) we will be working with families/whānau to further reduce rubbish (including reducing containers that can be recycled).
We are also aim to decrease food waste by offering small amounts of food that children help themselves too (plates are topped up as needed) and managing left-overs more efficiently.
The centre programme is very flexible and offers opportunities for physical activity throughout the day, indoors and outdoors. Children have time to move and rest. The outdoor area is available for most parts of the day (dependent on weather and routines) and active play is encouraged.
Information about the importance of physical activity is incorporated into the daily programme.
Children are encouraged to participate in these activities to the best of their abilities and skills. Teachers support children to take risks and extend themselves physically. Children are encouraged to support each other in their participation in physical activities and to develop positive attitudes, including fair and friendly play.
Indoor activities include; movement and music, jumping on mini tramps, aerobic exercise at group times, rough and tumble on fall mats.
Outdoor activities include; a variety of gross motor activities using available resources where children are encouraged to take supported risks, walks and runs within the local community, including parks and playgrounds.