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The correlation between nutrition, learning, and health is very strong, and it plays a significant role in a child's development. In a child's later years of growth, nutrition has a direct effect on academic success as well as health. Early childhood providers play a critical role in ensuring that young children's physical and mental health, as well as their nutrition, are healthy and beneficial. They assist young children's families in ensuring that their children consume nutritious meals and snacks that support their physical and mental growth. Teaching nutrition in early childhood programs helps in ensuring that all the practitioners who undergo training provide a consistent daily schedule for meals, rest as well as sleep. In addition, early childhood education programs give the professionals the chance to be able to identify healthy behaviors that promote the nutrition of young children. Such healthy behaviors include hand washing, toilet procedures, brushing teeth and important eating habits.
When educational professionals have diverse knowledge on good nutrition, there is reduction of the occurrence of illnesses such as diarrhea among young children since they are able to fight against infections. On the other hand, good nutrition also contributes to increased activity levels, social interactions as well as cognitive functioning. For good nutrition to be achieved among young children, it is important for the early childhood professionals to be aware of the healthy activities and behaviors that contribute to the good health of the children.
According to a journal on ‘Developmental Perspectives on Nutrition and Obesity from Gestation to Adolescence’, it is important to check on the nutrition of young children to avoid instances such as the occurrence of obesity in young children. School is among the contexts that contribute to obesity and other unhealthy habits among children. This therefore calls for the need for early childhood professionals to observe the feeding practices, taste acquisition and eating habits of children especially when they are not hungry. This is due to the fact that at the early childhood stage, many children tend to prefer sweeting tasting substances and avoid bitter substances. Modulating children’s flavor preferences through exposing them to different types of healthy flavors has shown to reduce the occurrence of obesity in future. This is because children eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Modulating children’s flavor in school can only be effective if the early education professionals have the knowledge of how to give a wide variety of healthy meals and snacks to children (Deanna et al, 2009).
On the other hand, according to a journal on ‘Nutrition and Physical Activity in Child Care Centers’, having programs which require local education agencies as well as caregivers to participate in national nutrition programs, was shown to promote wellness and health in the schools. This is due to the fact that there was a major focus on nutrition education as well as physical activities has reduced the occurrence of incidences such as obesity among children. The presence of national nutrition programs such as National school lunch and Breakfast programs helped to ensure that early childhood educational programs meet the national dietary guidelines and wellness policies. The success of the wellness policies was greatly contributed to by the professionals in the early childhood institutions. This emphasizes on the need to teach nutrition in Early childhood education program (Joyce et al, 2011).
In addition, according to Martoz, nutrition has shown to affect the academic performance of young children in the later years. This has been shown through research where a deficiency of iron in children has shown to contribute to reduced cognition and cognitive development in the later years of a child’s life. On the other hand, he explains that children who are under nourished easily get sick and are likely to miss many days of school during their early childhood age. He suggests that young children, eat balanced diets both at home school. He explains on the need to have educators who are aware of the nutrition requirements of learners in schools, in order to do follow up of how the learners are feeding in school (Martoz, 2014),
Moreover, according to Gupta, there is need for early childhood professionals to have knowledge on the dietary requirements of young learners. He explains that when these educators and professionals are aware of the nutritional needs of the learner, they are able to identify nutrition resources as well as activities for the young children irrespective of their diverse cultures with different nutrition practices. On the other hand, according to Gupta, making educators aware of the importance of proper nutrition among young children helps them to identify strategies to help them collaborate with families in promoting appropriate nutrition practices for the young children (Gupta, 2009).
Based on the discussion above, when early childhood professionals are aware on the dietary requirements of young children, they are able to ensure that young children eat healthy meals at school and practice healthy behaviors such as washing hands before meals. In addition, the presence of healthy meals and habits in school has shown to reduce the incidences of early school dropout among young children due to reduced incidences of deficiency diseases among children. On the other hand, when educators provide good nutrition to young children, they have a high academic performance even in the later years. These ideas therefore validate the need for teaching nutrition in early childhood programs.
In addition, based on the ideas presented in discussion above, i recognize the need to be make educators and other early childhood professionals aware of the benefits of good nutrition among the learners. This is because good nutrition among the learners has shown to result to the termination of the occurrence of many nutritional and academic problems in the later years of a child. I realize the need why our educators emphasized on the need of healthy eating habits.
In summary, based on the discussion above, I feel that teaching nutrition in early childhood programs has shown to be of great benefit not only to the students but also to the early childhood professionals. When the early childhood professionals have the knowledge of good nutrition, they are able to use the knowledge to come up healthy behaviors and practices in school promote the immunity as well as the academic performance of the learners. Teaching Nutrition in early childhood programs has shown to be a great visionary idea.
Deanna, M., Jennifer, O., Julie, A., Layla, E. & Terry, T.(2009).Developmental Perspectives on Nutrition and Obesity From Gestation to Adolescence. Journal of Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol.6 (3):94.
Gupta, M. (2009). Early childhood care and education. New Delhi: PHI Learning.
Joyce, M., Justin, D., Monica, G., Sarah, E. &Rodney, L. (2011).Nutrition and Physical Activity in Child Care Centres : the Impact of a Wellness Policy Iniatiative on Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation Outcomes. Journal of Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol 10:83.
Marotz, L. (2014). Health, safety, and nutrition for the young child. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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