Sometimes everything just aligns and a perfect win-win situation arises. Like magic!
While you scratch your head thinking of such a situation in your life, allow us to paint you the picture of a perfect win-win for all.
And that is starting a farm to table program in your school!
Okay, we can tell you are probably scratching your head a whole lot harder now, but hear us out. The benefits of introducing farm to table programs in your preschool do not just extend to the kids. They benefit their parents. And they benefit your school! You will find out all if you just keep reading!
What is the farm to table concept when it comes to preschools?
Well, it is quite simple. Really. The farm to table concept as far as preschools is concerned is all about introducing the tiny nuggets in your class to farm-fresh produce using multiple ways so they can start eating healthy, willingly, from a very young age. Thus forming a lifelong habit of eating fresh, eating clean and eating good.
Okay, maybe that was a mouthful to read but you get the gist right? Now the other thing about farm to table preschool programs is they are fairly easy to get started.
How to introduce a farm to table program in your preschool?
Honestly, there are quite a few ways to go about it and you could try a mix of them so which way works best for your school and the kids in it.
- Add local produce to the cafeteria menu
- Visit a farmer’s market
- Educate about nutrition
- Have your own school garden
- Call in a chef
- Forms a strong healthy eating habit
- Removes neophobia
- Famialirises them with the importance of nutrition
- Offers the scope of outdoor activity
- Makes them a part of a community
You could do a taste test every week for that! So basically, have a fruit or vegetable of the week and build your entire week’s narrative around it. Include the veggie in your math quiz. Read that fruity story during your English lessons. Do enough to get children excited to want to know just what this juicy looking fruit or crunchy looking veggie tastes like! Then at the end of the week, host sessions where the fruit or veggie is prepped live in front of kids. They would be begging to try it!
Or a community garden. In any case, taking your preschool kids to either will give them some ‘up, close and personal’ time with fresh produce. Just the sheer variety of colors, textures and smells will be enough to get kids on a roll, making them eager to learn more about these nature’s treats right in front of them! Have the farmers interact with kids so they can answer all of the latter’s questions and further fuel their interest.
You might think your preschool kids are too young for this but trust us, they are not. They would like to be a part of the foods they eat! Of course, your job would be to convince them to pick the nutritious stuff over the junk, so be sure to get their parents in on this one. Early education seminars can be great to teach kids about the importance of proper handling and cleaning of fresh produce too.
Which kids can plant and prune and tend to each day! Under expert guidance of course. Not only is this outdoor activity great for kids but it is bound to get them more excited about eating fresh produce when they sow the very seeds for it. Getting your students involved in the gardening process, where they can watch their produce grow, would make them want to reap the benefits of their hard work.
And have them use fruits and veggies in tasty dishes that kids would love to binge on! Call parents in for this one so they can take notes and replicate recipes they learn at home. Just make sure the chef introduces kids to easy recipes, which they can make on their own too if they have to.
Farm to table program benefits for kids
Yep, here comes the list of benefits you have been waiting for! Inculcating a farm to table program in your preschool carries several advantages such as:
Kids can be fussy eaters. And if you do not find a way to control that fuss early on, it can turn into a lifelong habit of eating unhealthy foods. However, if schools implement a farm to table program, kids get the chance to develop healthy eating patterns which can potentially save them from a world of problems such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and more.
The name is kind of a giveaway but neophobia is the fear of the ‘new’. Which in the case of kids could be trying new foods. You know they are fussy eaters! That said, one major farm to table benefit is since kids are so involved in growing their foods, their fear of trying the ‘new’ is greatly reduced if not eliminated.
By giving kids the chance to have control over what they grow and what they eat, you inculcate them in the habit of mindful eating. Which can go a long way in turning kids into healthy adults. Moreover, by directly telling them about all the goodness fruits and veggies add to their diet, you make kids responsible for their own nutrition.
Especially if you start a school garden! Now we already know gardening has many benefits for preschoolers. From developing their coordination and fine motor skills to keeping stress at bay and fueling their creativity and curiosity, growing a school vegetable patch can be both therapeutic and nurturing for kids.
Part of the mindfulness benefits of a farm to table program, when kids interact with the community of local farmers or learn to grow veggies and fruits together, they get to feel a deeper and stronger sense of connection with the community they belong to. Which is a very crucial part of their emotional development.
Bonus: supports local markets
Getting kids to indulge in season, perennial and locally produced fresh fruits and veggies is a great way to support local farmers markets. Not to mention the added benefit of upholding one’s own cultural and ethnic food items. Besides, this connection between local businesses and preschools is great too. It really helps preschools turn into wholesome environments that truly care about nurturing every facet of their children’s lives.
At EuroKids, we not only impart kids with vital education in a fun-filled format but we also ensure they get access to the right kind of nutrition. Find out more about our award-winning institution by visiting us!