“The Early Years Learning Framework supports the importance of teaching children to take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing, and encourages them to be aware of healthy lifestyles,” Preschool educator Machiko Ohta said.
Their investigations began with the contents of their lunchboxes.
“Taking on the role of food inspectors, the children began to explore and identify the vast array of food items present in their lunchboxes,” Machiko said. “It offered our community of learners the opportunity to discuss with their peers the foods that are healthy, and foods that should only be consumed occasionally.”
The children began to brainstorm different food groups.
“They demonstrated awareness and knowledge of the different food groups through identifying fruit and vegetables as foods they most enjoy,” Machiko said.
The children’s favourite fruits and vegetables were found to be strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers and carrots.
As the investigations continued, they considered the role of “sometimes foods” along with their emerging understanding of nutrition.
“’Sometimes foods have too much sugar and can make us sick,” Oliver said.
While Oliver noted the negative impacts of sugar, Lucas considered salt. “Some of them are too salty and it is not good for our body,” Lucas said.
The children were encouraged to examine the amount of sugar in their lunchbox. Using a cooking scale, they measured the amount of sugar in yogurt, dry fruit, chocolate and muesli bars and compared them.
“It was fascinating to see when children discovered that the dry fruits in their lunch box contained the most amount of sugar,” Machiko said. “As our learning journey continued to evolve over time, children then began to learn about a balanced diet by creating our special Healthy Eating Head to Toe poster.”
In addition to exploring their investigative skills, the children have been busy making their own healthy plates following the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.
This learning experience has increased opportunities or the children to consider their own nutritional habits and practically apply their knowledge.