Preschool Nutrition Service Project The target population of this service project was thirteen preschool children with ages that ranged between four and five years of age. The gender distribution included six boys and seven girls with residence distributed between Porter and La Porte counties of Indiana. Attention to teaching and promotion of good nutrition habits can have lasting positive effects on the growing child. During the preschool years growth is progressing at approximately 4. 5 pounds a year, with an average increase of 2 to 3. inches in height yearly. Developmentally, advances in both fine and gross motor skills as well as language and play develop quickly in this age group. Proper nutrition is vital to maximize these years of growth and development. According to Erikson, the preschool child has an emotional task of initiative versus guilt, and will discover that learning new things can be fun with a positive approach to teaching (Pillitteri, 2010). The nutrition requirements of a preschool aged child include: 6 servings from the bread and grains group servings form the vegtable group 2 servings from the fruit group 2 servings from the milk and dairy group 2 servings from the meat group and the sparse use of the fats, oils and sweets group (Pillitteri, 2010, p. 791) Children between the ages of 3-6 years of age are forming habits that will impact them for years to come. The caregiver should offer a variety of foods from the food pyramid and balance the food eaten with physical activity to assist the child in developing good nutritional habits.
The caregiver should also model the type of behavior desired from the child in their own behavior to facilitate successful teaching (Denise Boyd, 2009). However, the child will ultimately hold the decision to intake the food. With this in mind, teaching the children about the importance of their decisions will aid in the development of healthy food choices through knowledge of nutrition. The learning teaching objectives for this presentation: 1. Within the Ccognitive Domain: The children will be able to identify and classify common foods into proper food categories by the end of the project. . Within the affective domain: The children will explain personal understanding about healthy foods versus snack or treat type foods as evidenced by sorting foods individualy during circle time. 3. Within the psychomotor domain: The children will demonstrate the ability to identify healthy food choices when given options of common snacks by the conclusion of the project as evidenced by correctly sorting both healthy and less than healthy foods during the game played in the project. The agenda for the teaching project was as follows: 1. Assemble the children in a large circle. . Presentation of an age appropriate explanation of the food pyramid. 3. Presentation of each of the categories from the pryamid with a large picture, followed by placement of the picture in the middle of the circle. Also presented and placed a picture of “sometimes” food which included candy, soda, pizza and other related foods. 4. Passing various foods from all food groups around the circle to have the children touch and smell each food and identify the correct food group for the item being passed. 5. Read the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969). 6.
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After the completion of the story, the children were led in discussion to identify some of the food choices of the caterpillar and asked to yell out if the caterpillars food choices were healthy choices or sometime choices. 7. Distributed one item of food to each child and took turns going around the circle individually to identify and then “sort” into the appropriate category pictures and explain what thoughts they had about the food. 8. Split the children into two teams and played a relay race game. Each team raced to sort 32 pictures of food ranging all food groups and “sometimes” food into one of two buckets.
One bucket was named Healthy Foods, and the second named Sometimes Food. This method of teaching was chosen because it contained several teaching styles such as, auditory, verbal and kinesthetic. It was informational yet allowed for the preschoolers to touch and see the different types of familiar food and then connect the food with the proper food group through activity or kinesthetic learning. The story was fun and age appropriate and tied the nutrition choices of the caterpillar to the food pyramid through auditory learning.
Allowing the preschooler(s) to verbalize the proper food group during individual turns of sorting foods into food groups allowed for reinforcement and return demonstration for the lecture portion of the project, supporting the cognitive domain. The service project concluded with a game allowing the children to think about the food chosen through interactive play or kinesthetic activity and supports the psychomotor learning style of preschool aged students. Preschoolers need a wide variety of experience and play material so they can learn as much about the world as possible (Pillitteri, 2010, p. 866). Childhood food choices are not only predictive of nutrient intakes; research studies have also demonstrated that early food choices are predictive of adult food preferences. Therefore, positively influencing food preferences during early childhood may aid in the establishment of lifelong healthy food habits (Young, Anderson, Beckstrom, Bellows, & Johnson, 2004, p. 251). ” The children were receptive to this style of teaching and engaged both in the discussion and sorting of the foods as well as the game and story time. We concluded our time together by repeating the different food groups, followed by their morning snack.
Teaching learning objectives were met as evidenced by the ability of the children to properly sort the pictures of food into the appropriate bucket during the relay game. The children also exhibited understanding as evidenced by participation in individual discussion while holding their article of food prior to sorting into the correct food group. The child would state if the food was a healthy choice or a “sometimes” choice and explain why they made that conclusion. This project could be improved with the opportunity for repetition. Learning is enhanced with repetition for the preschool age child.
Incorporation of a hands-on activity to be completed at a later time would also strengthen this teaching. A small coloring page with food groups for the child to complete may reinforce the message by facilitating the child to recall the learning experience. Fostering parental involvement through distribution of a nutritional pamphlet for each child parents may also be helpful to improve the outcome of this project. Education for parents is an important factor in the promotion of health eating habits (Washington, Reifsnider, Bishop, Domingeaux Ethington, & Ruffin, 2010).
One of the many roles of the registered nurse is educator. In the educator role the nurse must decide and implement age appropriate teaching to successfully teach the chosen topic. With the knowledge acquired during nursing school it is important for the nurse to use this education to further educate the community. Teaching health promotion is essential to the public. During our evaluation of the project we spoke of he age old saying, which we believe also applies to nursing; with great power, (such as education), comes great responsibility.
Together we believe the nurse does have a responsibility to education, and that teaching the public reinforces our individual knowledge and motivates the nurse to continue to learn new things. This project was meaningful to the target audience due to their age, and the ability to influence nutrition knowledge early enough to facilitate knowledge of good eating habits that may carry into adulthood. This project also afforded growth and professional development into our new professional role(s) as registerd nurses.
Personal and professional growth occurs when the nurse incorporates teaching into their professional role. This allows for the opportunity to improve public speaking skills, research different teaching strategies, and actively take a leadership role in education. References Boyd, D. (2009). Lifespan development (5th ed. ). Boston: Pearson Prentice Hall. Carle, E. (1969). The very hungry caterpillar. New York: Philomel Books. Hogan, M. A. (2007). Maternal-Newborn nursing (2nd ed. ). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Pillitteri, A. (2010).
Maternal & child health nursing: care of the childbearing & childrearing family (6th ed. ). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkens. Washington, P. S. , Reifsnider, E. , Bishop, S. L. , Domingeaux Ethington, M. , & Ruffin, R. E. (2010). Changes in family variables among normal and overweight preschoolers. Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 20-38. doi: 10. 3109/01460860903486531 Young, L. , Anderson, J. , Beckstrom, L. , Bellows, L. , & Johnson, S. L. (2004). Using social marketing to guide the development of a nutrition education initiative for preschool-aged children. Colorado State University: