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Boosting child nutrition
Boosting child nutrition
WorkLife and BeWell work together
“I like berries!! Yum!” announces five-year-old Daniel, pointing eagerly to the blackberries.
“Can I have red?” asks a younger child next to him, referring to the strawberries.
Soon, seven children are leaning over the tables after reminders to wash their hands, surveying all of the delicious fruits and vegetables strewn across the table. Suddenly, the blender whirs loudly and several children cover their ears to block out the noise. Rosalyne covers hers, too, to show the children that she agrees.
The children at Rainbow School are making smoothies with BeWell Dietitian and Advisor, Rosalyne Tu, and Master Teacher, Michael Borbas. Blackberries, strawberries, bananas, spinach, and carrots are added in turn by the children to make a thick, rich juice. Teacher Michael helps the children add pieces of ice and asks a helping parent not to cut the tops off the strawberries when she washes them. They will be a nutritional addition to the smoothies.
Stanford’s Rainbow School and Pepper Tree After School Program, together with WorkLife’s two in-house child care programs, partnered to establish this child nutrition initiative, which began as a part of Pepper Tree’s re-accreditation process. (Working with a health specialist or nutritionist is part of the annual accreditation process for Stanford campus child care centers.)
WorkLife Child and Family Resource Coordinator, Jenny Young, looked within Stanford to find support and located Rosalyne Tu within BeWell. Rosalyne’s experience includes work for The Childhood Feeding Collaborative, an initiative of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, where she incorporated the philosophy of Ellyn Satter, author of Child of Mine. In Satter’s approach, parents are responsible for the “What, When and Where” to eat, whereas children are responsible for the “How Much” and “Whether or Not” to eat. Rosalyne then brought the parent education portion of this program to Stanford, via the HIP program, in a class (co-sponsored by WorkLife) called “The 5 Keys to a Healthy, Happy Eater.”
Other healthy initiatives are underway: The parents and teachers grow vegetables and fruits at the Rainbow School. They are growing strawberries, squash, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, oranges and pomelos as part of the curriculum. Children harvested Black Seeded Simpson heirloom lettuce and Champion radishes for a salad for a potluck meal. They harvested potatoes, which were made into a traditional Danish dish by a family. They have harvested rosemary, which was used in a focaccia recipe. They harvested mint to make tea at the school.
At lunch, teachers, parents and children talk about how our food helps us grow strong. They discuss which foods have protein, which have fat and which have vitamins — and how those nutrients help our bodies.
Needless to say, it’s been a “berry” fruitful partnership.