All New Kindergarten Nutrition Program Garners Teacher—and Student— Approval
All New Kindergarten Nutrition Program Garners Teacher—and Student— Approval

 

At Dairy Council of California, we believe that nutrition and nutrition education are important at all ages and stages of life. The brand-new Kindergarten nutrition program Building a Healthy Me! helps children develop healthy eating habits in fun and engaging ways and allows teachers to practice and apply Common Core State Standards in the classroom. 

While building the program, we reached out to kindergarten teachers throughout the state to test the program and provide feedback. We wanted to be sure that our new program reflected how kindergarten students learn about nutrition and the best ways to help teachers convey vital information through fun, flexible activities. 

After teaching Building a Healthy Me!, kindergarten teacher Maria Smith from Northwood Elementary in Napa noted a change in her students' comprehension of what it means to be healthy. "During snack and lunch time, students discussed the food groups while eating their food from home. Students became more knowledgeable about making healthy choices," she said. "The Dairy Council of California curriculum helps students participate in collaborative conversations about topics with peers in small and larger groups." 

Building a Healthy Me! includes eight units with four activities in each unit. Students learn the importance of eating foods from food-group foods through engaging, fun activities like singing, writing, coloring and sorting while learning about nutrition.  

 "I like the food patterns activity because patterns are a very big part of the math curriculum for kindergarten," said Irene Maroney from Gibson Elementary in Woodland. "I also like the food group sorting activities for the same reason. These activities reinforce the idea of food choices and focus on healthy options. The kids love the hidden picture activities." She went on to explain "I truly know they are 'getting it' when I hear a student tell another student at snack time that there really isn't any fruit in a fruit roll up or when they discuss their lunches by identifying food groups." 

"I like that the program focuses on choices rather than memorization," adds Peggy Porter from Forestville Elementary in Forestville. "It works for all of my students even from varied backgrounds, food preferences and situations." 

Indeed, Building a Healthy Me!, like all Dairy Council of California nutrition education lesson plans, teaches the importance of breakfast for academic achievement and offers individualized and actionable advice for students and parents based on recommendations from USDA’s MyPlate and Dietary Guidelines. Furthermore, each grade-level program instills the importance of eating fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains as well as why consuming milk and milk products is essential to a healthy diet. 

Since students tend to act on the knowledge learned in each Dairy Council of California lesson, letters to parents and family homework help prepare parents for possible changes in their child's behavior. "My students started discussing food they had in their own lunch boxes and what they had at home," said Melinda Carreras from Witter Ranch Elementary in Sacramento. "The activities were carried into our communities with families participating in them. The students felt empowered to share their information with others. Teaching the Dairy Council of California curriculum is a fantastic addition to our Language Arts unit on food." 

Available free to educators in California on behalf of the dairy industry's contribution to community health, Building a Healthy Me! includes a Teacher Guide, two posters, student workbooks in Spanish and English, food picture cards and a storage box. Visit the Schools page to learn more about the program and order materials for your classroom.