Welcome to guest blogger Kyra Ostendorf, Redleaf Press® Acquisitions and Development Editor. She was part of the editorial team that worked on the just-published Healthy Children, Healthy Lives: The Wellness Guide for Early Childhood Programs. Read on for Kyra’s reflections on this terrific new resource.
I’m a mom of two boys: Nelson just started fifth grade and Malcolm just started kindergarten. I wish their child care programs would have had Healthy Children, Healthy Lives when they were attending! There’s so much to do to help young children be healthy, and most of it is so easily done. I hope programs across the country and around the world use this book.
At home, my husband and I are intentional about what our family eats, how much screen time our boys have, and quite a few other things that Healthy Children, Healthy Lives addresses. And, we talk about why we eat whole grains, minimally processed foods, organic fruits and vegetables, and milk and dairy products without growth hormones. I think it’s making an impression: just the other day, Nelson said that one of his friend’s family does not care about what they eat. I asked, “What do you mean?” and he replied, “They just don’t eat as healthy as we do.” He wasn’t complaining or judging. He was just making an observation.
As a ten-year-old, Nelson knows to read food labels and check for the sugar content and any ingredients he can’t pronounce. And even Malcolm will ask, “Does it have too much sugar?” That’s not to say that they don’t eat candy or other sweets at home — they do! In fact, I’ve been known to take them to the candy store so they can pick out what they like. I’m okay with them eating sweets if it’s something they really like and it’s on occasion, not every day. Most days they just have fruit for dessert.
When authors Rachel Robertson and Sharon Bergen approached Redleaf with a few ideas for publication, Healthy Children, Healthy Lives was the one that I was most excited about. That was over a year ago and I’m still excited. Healthy Children, Healthy Lives is an important resource for early childhood programs working to support the whole child. I hope you will use this book to guide policies and practices to greatly improve the health and well-being of young children and their families.
The book will show you how to make a few simple changes right away. Then, take the time to identify some things that may take more energy to change. I know the children and their families will benefit from your healthier program. And, if you’re motivated, the Go Green Rating Scale for Early Childhood Settings is another great resource for evaluating and improving the health of your facility, which in turn impacts the children and adults who spend time there.
Learn more about Healthy Children, Healthy Lives: The Wellness Guide for Early Childhood Programs and authors Sharon Bergen, PhD, and Rachel Robertson, MA.