Eating Healthy at JCCS Angel Care, Kentucky

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“At JCCS we strive to provide a quality education to young children. However, the nutritional component has always been a concern at our school,” said Johnson County Christian School (JCCS) Angel Care Center Director Linda Daniels.

The teachers agreed that they wanted to make some healthy changes while participating in the National Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative (ECELC) project. The center’s goal was to help their children and families make better food choices and to learn how these foods are grown.

The teachers immediately began revising the center’s menus. They completely removed juice from the menu and decided to display a “Sugar Shock” board at the entrance of the center as a way to educate families on the amount of sugar in common drinks. Families were also encouraged to participate in a Healthy Christmas Celebration. Families received a list of healthy foods they could bring to the celebration.

As a result of the success from the sugar shock poster and the healthy celebration, the teachers at JCCS craved to learn more innovative ways to introduce healthy foods to the children at their program. The teachers decided to incorporate gardening so the children could learn more about how foods are grown. Daniels contacted their local Extension Office who provided all the materials needed to start the garden. One of the extension agents visited the center several times to offer lessons on growing a garden. In addition, a local farm provided tomato plants and seeds of a variety of fruits and vegetables.

“The children have taken so much pride in taking care of their garden. It was entertaining to watch the children make a salad from the vegetables they picked out of their garden. The sugar shock board was also definitely an eye-opener for the families. It was great to hear families say that they reduced or eliminated juice from their child’s diet after seeing the board. The ECELC project has been a hands-on educational, learning experience for our children, families and teachers, ” said Daniels.

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