QUALITY AREA 2: CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND SAFETY
NUTRITION, FOOD,BEVERAGES and DIETRY REQUIRMENTS POLICY
Policy: The centre will provide food and nutrition education that is consistent with national dietary guidelines for children, adolescents and national infant feeding guidelines, state regulations, food safety principles,and that is appropriate to their age, cultural background, religion or medical needs.
Children in their first five years of life are developing rapidly and require a nutritious and safe diet for their intellectual, behavioural and physical development. Education and fun learning activities in relation to healthy eating are also important for children’s development.
Given that children are increasingly spending long periods of time in centre-based care, early childhood educators can role model healthy eating and encourage young children to make healthier food choices. This willcontribute to the prevention of weight problems in children, allowing childrento thrive physically, socially and intellectually, and in turn contribute toprevention of nutrition-related chronic diseases.
Our preschool is committed toimplementing the healthy eating key messages outlined in Munch and Move and to support the National Healthy Eating Guidelines for Early Childhood Settings asoutlined in the Get Up and Growresources.
- Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010
- Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Links to theNational Quality Standard
- 2.2 Healthy eating and physical activity are embedded in the program for children
- 2.2.1 Healthy eating is promoted and food and drinks provided by the service are nutritious and appropriate for each child
- Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) www.acecqa.gov.au
- Get Up and Grow – Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood. Department of Health and Ageing 2009
- Munch and Move Resource Manual. NSW Department of Health 2008
- Healthy Kids NSW: www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au
- Nutrition Australia: www.nutritionaustralia.org
- Nutrition, Food, Beverages and Dietary Requirements Policy – Community Child Care Co-operative
Our care and education service will:
- Role model healthy eating and activity throughout the day to all children and families;
- Promote the five key Munch and Move messages to promote healthy, active habits in children from a young age;
1. Choosewater as a drink
2. Eatfewer snacks and select healthier alternatives
3. Eatmore fruit and vegetables
4. Getactive for an hour or more each day
5. Turnoff the television or computer and get active
- Support families in educating their children about healthy food choices.
- Promote and safe food handling practices
Provision of food and drink
Familiesprovide food and drinks for their children at our service. Each day familiesare required to provide nutritious food and water for;
- Fruit Break (Morning Tea)
To provide food, and food and nutrition education at our preschoolthat is consistent with national dietary guidelines for children, adolescentsand national infant feeding guidelines, state regulations, food safetyprinciples, and that is appropriate for their age, cultural background, religionor medical needs, the preschool will:
- Provide information to families on the types of food and drink recommended for children and suitable for children’s lunchboxes.
- Discourage the provision of highly processed snake foods high in fat, salt and sugar and low in essential nutrients in children’s lunchboxes. Examples of foods not permitted include lollies, chocolates, sweet biscuits, muesli bars, breakfast bars, fruit filled bars, chips, corn chips etc.
- Ensure all children will have access to safe drinking water at all times. Promote drinking water for usual drinking requirements, provide safe drinking water to children and educators at all times, and ensure children have adequate fluid intake during their care. (Be aware that the fluid requirements of children increase in certain circumstances such as hot weather, after exercise or when they are ill)
· Ensure all children are offered food and beverages appropriate tothe needs of each child on a regular and predictable basis throughout the day
- Promote development of eating skills and independent eating by;
- giving children control over how much they eat
- providing children with age and developmentally appropriate furniture and eating utensils at meal times. Where families provide eating utensils, advise them about suitable utensils to encourage independent eating.
- Provide a positive eating environment that helps to communicate family and multicultural values by:
- encouraging families to send a wide range of nutritious food that would represent theirs or other cultures
- informing families of the availability of a microwave for reheating food from home
- using strategies such as eating with chopsticks, using finger food, sitting in round groups, educators and children sitting together at meal times,
- ensuring food is not offered as punishment or reward,
- providing information to families outlining the preschool’s policies and approaches taken to meet the nutritional needs of children through food brought from home, including special dietary needs, culture and religion
- Utilizing resources such as Halal Helpline, ph. (02) 9232 6731, and Ethnic Child Care, Family & Community Services, ph. (02) 9569 1288,
- Provide a friendly, relaxed and comfortable environment that will help to achieve a stress-free meal time for both children and educators. Meal time (fruit break and lunch) is a time for encouraging healthy and safe eating practices, socializing and learning. Fruit break (morning tea) and lunch are usually eaten picnic style with groups of children sitting together, supervised by educators who acts as a role model. Children with food that has been heated or might easily spill e.g. yoghurt, sit in groups of 6 – 8 at a table with an educator.
- Educators are to supervise and encourage safe eating behaviours, discuss healthy food choices and appropriate hygiene. e.g. sitting while eating any food, avoiding small hard foods like nuts and lollies, (See Management of Choking Policy) educators sitting with children while they are eating, sitting children with allergies away from any children with unsuitable food, washing hands before eating, ensuring that the eating environment is clean at all times.
- Understanding, respecting and handling eating behaviour of children (including refusal of food by children) Children are encouraged with verbal positive reinforcement to eat their fruit break and lunch but are never to be forced or harassed for not eating food. If children regularly refuse to eat food strategies should be discussed with families and it may be suggested that parents take the child to a family doctor or dietician for a review.
- Safe hand-washing practices are observed at all times
- Present strategies for preventing choking accidents caused by food (see Management of Choking). Children are to be seated when eating and drinking and are to be supervised at all times.
- Provide strategies for how the centre will accommodate children with special dietary needs (see Managing Children with Diabetes and Managing Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis).
- The preschool has a NO NUT OR NUT PRODUCT policy due to children attending the Centre with nut allergies.
Safe food handling
- Encourage and provide opportunities for educators to undertake regular professional development to maintain and enhance their knowledge about early childhood nutrition.
- Provide food to children that has been stored, prepared and served in a safe and hygienic manner and to promote hygienic food practices
- Ensure gloves are worn or food tongs are used by all staff handling foods.
- Children and staff wash and dry their hands (using soap, running water and single use or disposable towels) before handling food or eating meals and snacks.
- Food is stored and served at safe temperatures i.e. below 5C or above 60C.
- Children will be discouraged from handling other children’s food and utensils.
- Provide a copy of the Nutrition Policy to all families on the preschool website and upon enrolment at the preschool.
- Request that details of any food allergies or intolerances or specific dietary requirements be provided to the service and work in partnership with families to develop an appropriate response so that children’s individual dietary needs are met.
- Form a collaborative partnership for developing policies, practices and education with children’s families and nutrition and health professionals.
- Information on healthy food and nutrition will be given to families on enrolment, and regularly throughout the year in articles in the newsletter, notes and brochures sent home and visiting speakers.
- Advise parents on the minimum quantities of food that need to be provided to children while in care. The specific needs of children three to five years old need to be specified.
- Provide suitable information that can assist and encourage the family to provide meals and snacks that:
- meet current standards and recommendations in relation to nutritional requirements,
- are appropriate to the child’s age, cultural and religious background,
- are of a variety and quantity that satisfies the child’s appetite and interests,
- are transported to preschool within safe temperatures (less than 5°C or over 60°C)
- Provide feedback to parents if their child is not eating well.
- Promote principles of safe food handling and storage of food brought from home. Families are encouraged to use insulated lunch bags with freezer packs and to place meat, dairy and other perishable foods in the refrigerator in the playroom.
Education and information
- Provide education and activities for families and children to promote healthy eating. Provide this information in the relevant community languages, where possible, or discuss the issues with the culturally and linguistically diverse families.
· Educatorswill engage children in learning experiences that are fun and enjoyable andincorporate key messages around healthy eating
· Implementedlearning experiences will be guided by the EYLF principles and incorporatethe child’s identity
- Choose food awareness activities and experiences from a variety of cultures.
- Food awareness activities and discussions about food, different cultures, health, hygiene and nutrition will be included across the curriculum (art/craft, language, music, dramatic play, cooking etc.)
Professional development of staff and educators
- Educators will attend Munch and Move professional development training or receive access to similar training and/or information
- All educators will have access to the document Get Up and Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Guidelines for Early Childhood Settings
- Educators will attend and /or have access to information on food handling and hygiene procedures.
- Awareness of culturally diverse foods and their preparation. Discuss issues relevant to food and nutrition on a regular basis at staff meetings.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Ensure the service operates in line with the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations 2011
- Allocate finances for training and food safety.
- Ensure that the service implements adequate health and hygiene practices and safe practices for handling, preparing and storing food to minimise risks to children being educated and cared for by the service.
- Ensure adequate health and hygiene practices and safe practices for handling, preparing and storing food are implemented at the service to minimise risks to children
- Ensure children being cared for by the service have access to safe drinking water at all times and are offered food and beverages on a regular basis throughout the day
Early ChildhoodEducators/Certified Supervisors
- Adhere to the strategies and practices of the Nutrition, Food, Beverages and Dietary Policy.
- Ensure children’s individual dietary needs are adhered to.
- Provide positive meal time experiences for children.
- Respect the individual needs and choices of children.
- Actively supervise children during meal times.
- Adhere to the services Hygiene Policy.
- Communicate regularly with educators/ staff regarding children’s specific nutritional requirements and dietary needs, including food preferences.
- Contribute cooking ideas and recipes.
Policy reviewed August 2014