Today we are visiting Bennington Early Childhood Center in beautiful Bennington, Vermont, where Hunger Free Vermont staff member Katy Davis has come to present a Tiny Tastes activity to a group of 2- and 3-year-olds. To encourage them to ultimately try a lemon garlic noodles dish, Katy begins by offering the children plain noodles. We then listen as she sings a song about going to the market and shows the children what she bought: a lemon, parsley, and a head of garlic. Explaining to the children where each item comes from, she offers them a piece to taste. Finally, she offers the children noodles with the ingredients they’ve already tasted mixed in. To everyone’s surprise, all of the children try each of the separate ingredients as well as the finished noodles dish, and they were full of smiles and curiosity the entire time.
Finding ways to help very young children learn to enjoy a variety of healthy foods is important. Katy explains that when children between birth and age 5—the most critical years of physical and emotional development—don’t get the right nutrients, their brains fail to develop properly. That’s where Hunger Free Vermont comes in. As Vermont’s anti-hunger advocacy and education organization, their goal is to make sure Vermonters have access to the nutrition education they need to make healthy food choices. Their staff works with childcare providers, schools, and communities all over the state to help teach children and their parents about the connection between nutrition and development.
As we prepare to return to the road, Katy shares some exciting news with us. The Newman’s Own Foundation funding that Hunger Free Vermont received this year is helping them create a new online Resource Hub that will house all their nutrition education resources, including the Tiny Tastes curriculum. Once the Hub is created, childcare providers all over Vermont and beyond will be able to download the curriculum to use in a variety of formats and settings. Hunger Free Vermont and Newman’s Own Foundation are excited that the Resource Hub will bring nutrition education to a greater number of children and families.
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