Healthy Living and Healthy Mind at Hammersmith
Having a balanced, healthy diet is paramount to being susceptible to learning. Without a happy and healthy brain, how can we learn effectively? As time goes on more and more studies are siding with this notion of a healthy diet, and a healthy mind. Having a healthy diet does not only support mental health and learning, but it also supports physical development.
Being healthy from an early age supports healthier habits later in life. Here at Willows, we take the nutrition and health of our children very seriously. We have our own chefs on site who provide balanced, healthy, home-cooked meals for the children from breakfast until teatime. Our chefs are so dedicated to the children’s health and nutrition they have been awarded an Early Year’s Nutrition Specialist Award! This award has been given to only one other setting in London!
At Willows Pre-School we promote healthy lifestyle choices in several ways. We have a range of topics that include learning about healthy lifestyles such as a recent topic of the farm: looking are how our food gets to the supermarkets! Other topics relating to healthy lifestyles have included dentistry; looking at what foods are bad for our teeth, growing; how our food is grown and even growing some of our own fruits and vegetables in the garden! And Earth Day; looking at food wastage and how our food is packaged.
Another way we promote healthy eating is through books. We have a wide range of books with healthy lifestyles promoted throughout. The Hungry Caterpillar is a wonderful example of how eating the wrong foods can make our bodies feel bad and how fruits ad vegetables were much healthier for the caterpillar. New foods can also be introduced through stories such as Handa’s Surprise! Many children may not have heard of guava or passionfruit before reading this story. We also include stories from different cultures when talking about food and healthy lifestyles. One favourite in the preschool room is called Bilal’s Daal, brought to use by one of the children and loved by all, it is a little boy who shares his favourite dish with his friends who have never tried it before, and they loved it!
We encourage our children to try new foods whenever possible. That is why we try to get foods commonly eaten during these times for the children to try during religious and cultural celebrations! Some new foods have included Pakistani Mangoes and other fruits from around the world, Chinese-style noodles and egg-fried rice, lentil curry and naan bread, brussels sprouts at Christmas and many more tasty treats! The children also get to explore food through cooking. Often our children can be spotted at in the local shops on a trip looking for tasty, healthy ingredients for their next cooking experiments. Recently the children have made their own fruit salads and skewers, Moroccan-style couscous and Scottish shortbread and Greek salads.