Nutrition plays vital role in early childhood development, says preschool teachers
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Preschool teachers from the Early Childhood Education Unit in the Ministry of Education discussed the importance of food and nutrition at the early childhood level on the June 20 edition of the government’s weekly “Working for You” programme.
“We have to keep our children healthy and with that we have to ensure that they get the nutrition they need from the food that we are providing for them,” said Julianna Powell, as she highlighted that this is a very important and critical part of a child’s development. “If they are not eating the right foods, they are not going to function right.”
She explained that the there is a pre-planned six-week menu that the cooks at the different day care centres follow in order to make sure that the children are being fed properly. She added that the menu was developed with the assistance of the nutritionist in the Ministry of Health.
“We want our children to be physically healthy, and with this we find that it will enhance our children’s productivity,” she said.
Another child caretaker, Nadine Natta, said that the Early Childhood Education Unit is now expanding the six-week menu into the private day care centres as well, so all the children can be on a balanced nutritional diet. “We are even expanding it to the private schools,” she said. “Some of the things on the menu may be costly for them, but we are pushing the healthy aspect of it.”
She further explained that the unit is working very closely with these private institutions to promote the use of local produce and for them to maintain a healthy diet for the children.
Travia Tyson, a pre-school teacher, also added that the unit has been encouraging the implementation of vegetable gardens at the day care centres, both for consumption and also as an activity the children can take part in to help with their development. “They are the future of our population and we cannot be feeding them these unhealthy foods,” Powell said. “We have to ensure that we provide good nutrients to feed these children properly.”