Obesity has become a pervasive problem within our schools. A handful of recent statistics can help to shed some light upon this disturbing observation. Did you know that 9.9 per cent of reception-age children are considered to be overweight? This figure jumps to a staggering 21 per cent when referring to children aged 10 and 11. It becomes clear that dietary changes need to be made. The good news is that there are many ways to encourage healthy eating within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Let us look at some wise strategies and the benefits that each may be able to provide.
Creating a Healthy Eating Atmosphere
The type of environment can actually play an important role in regard to developing healthy dietary habits. Educators should therefore seek to create a well-lit, warm and inviting atmosphere. This helps children to associate eating with a pleasant experience. It could also be wise to involve children with preparing classroom-based meals. This provides an opportunity for teachers to highlight which foods are healthy as well as those best to avoid. A bit of knowledge will go a long way in this sense.
Employ Pupil Tracking Software
It is a well-known fact that proactive monitoring technology (such as Educater pupil tracking software) is often utilised to gauge the progress of children within traditional classroom settings. However, these very same bundles can be employed to monitor eating habits and to record the type of food that appeals the most to a specific student. Thus, an additional level of insight can be gleaned; allowing teachers to focus upon those pupils who may require a bit more guidance.
Collaborate with Parents
We need to remember that healthy eating in the EYFS framework will also rely heavily upon habits developed outside of the classroom. In fact, some professionals believe that home-based diets are primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic currently being witnessed throughout the United Kingdom. Teachers should therefore make an effort to speak with parents and to determine what types of food the child is being provided with at home. Let us remember that many parents also have decidedly unhealthy diets. Children cannot be expected to change if adults do not set good examples.
Students should learn about the benefits of healthy foods at an early age. Thankfully, there are numerous classroom-based methods which can be employed. Here are some interesting examples:
Teach children about the food pyramid.
Play games associated with guessing different types of fruits and vegetables.
Encourage students to share healthy snacks with one another.
Students who are able to embrace a healthy attitude towards food at an early age will be much less likely to develop problems as they reach adolescence and adulthood. This is why teachers need to take their roles quite seriously. All of the techniques mentioned above can produce viable results if adopted into an ongoing curriculum. Do not hesitate to refer back to this article in the future for a bit of inspiration.