- “Most physical brain development occurs before age 5 or 6 when the brain reaches 90 percent of its adult size… Without proper nutrition both in utero and after birth, the brain cannot develop as it should.”
- “Talking to the children about foods instead of making them eat new foods without a choice or explanation is why her students want to eat healthy while other schools have had trouble achieving similar results.”
- “Perea knows that to help students develop emotionally and physically, it needs to work with parents to ensure that the adults in students’ lives are physically and mentally healthy, too. This means providing supportive resources for parents.”
- “Parents are taught about other ways to deal with problem behaviors, such as refocusing attention and talking with their children about their emotions. The purpose is to help the children develop the cognitive processes required to self-regulate. But if the parents don’t know about their options, then they can’t make change.”
This article in The Atlantic profiles a great preschool that is getting things right in terms of using a development-focused approach, instead of purely academic. The same way we’re beginning to take sleep more seriously for how it impacts young children’s growth and development, we need to start putting a similar focus on nutrition. This includes raising our expectations of what children are capable of eating, involving them in conversations about food, and taking on healthy lifestyles ourselves so that we model what healthy eating looks like.
Another important feature of a quality daycare or preschool is parent education. This is so rare yet so crucial for getting all of a child’s caregivers on the same page. Especially in centers such as Perea where the staff is trained and educated in early child development, I believe part of their responsibility is sharing their best practices and tools with parents who often don’t know how they can best support their child’s social/emotional or physical growth.