By using the information in this self-learning module to perform the required activities, you can help give children and their mothers a life-long health benefit! This Self Learning Module is based on an online resource kit developed by the Wisconsin Partnership for Activity and Nutrition. This kit contains two important tools that centers can use to become breastfeeding friendly. To earn Professional Development credit for this module from ECELS, follow these instructions:

This workshop teaches early learning practitioners how to recognize and manage occupational health risks, drawing on the content in Caring for Our Children: the National Health and Safety Performance Standards. Addresses management of stress, infectious disease risks and musculo-skeletal (ergonomic) challenges intrinsic to providing child care. Includes assessment of personal and work-site health promotion strategies.

The CDC is a comprehensive source of information on public health issues, including immunization, sanitation, and infectious disease. The CDC provides a large library of information to the public on many topics. Some of the categories include: Diseases and Conditions; Emergency Preparedness & Response; Environmental Health; Life Stages & Populations; Healthy Living, Injury, Violence & Safety; Traveler's Health; Workplace Safety & Health. The CDC website includes a powerful search engine as well as alphabetical listings. Users will find fact sheets, videos, photos, posters, and other useful materials to download.

Federal law requires that the publication called "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" must be reviewed, updated as necessary and published every 5 years. The 2020-2025 guidelines development process is underway now.  The guidelines emphasize calorie balance to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, as well as a focus on nutrient-dense foods and beverages. Policy-makers use these guidelines to develop educational materials and carry out nutrition-related programs. Use the weblink, Dietary Guidelines, to access the website of the United States Department of Agriculture for the current guidelines. Reviewed and reaffirmed 5/2018

Drinking water should be available indoors and outdoors all day. Milk is a fluid food. Milk should be served at meals or snacks where it is planned as part of the recommended intake for the child. Having ready access to drinking water is especially important on hot days except for infants. Infants who receive human milk or formula should receive extra human milk or formula, not water. Children should learn to drink water from a cup or, without mouthing the fixture, drink from a fountain as they can master these skills. Offer water as often as once an hour. No child should be allowed to have water by sucking continuously on a bottle or Sippy cup as it may interfere with proper nutrition. It is best to have children brush their teeth after at least one feeding. When children who have teeth eat and do not brush their teeth afterward, they should have a drink of water to rinse the food from their teeth. Reviewed and reaffirmed 7/2018.

Many families find it hard to schedule mealtimes when family members eat together. It may seem that getting everyone to choose and eat healthful food is enough. Lessons children learn by eating with family members are important too.

“Eat Together PA” is a campaign of The Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network (PA NEN). The nearly 1500 member organization receives USDA funds through the PA Department of Human Services. PA NEN offers nutrition resources, fact sheets, budgeting information, recipes, cooking tips and more. PA NEN members include dietitians, public health professionals, educators, chefs, food service directors, child care providers, WIC counselors, and many others.

The PA NEN website includes information about why eating together matters. Look there for practical tips about how to start having better family breakfasts and dinners together. The PA NEN website offers these tips:
  Children learn from watching you: Smile when you eat your fruits and vegetables. You may not know it, but your child is looking at the foods you eat and how much you like to eat them. Choose healthy, and they will eat like you!
  Make time to talk: Dinner is time for every-one to talk—a chance to chat positively, yet honestly—even if you don’t have all the answers!
  Have technology-free time: Silence all the cell phones. Turn off the computer, tab-lets and TV. Many people spend a big part of their day watching screen devices. Schedule some of this time to share a meal and a pleasant conversation.
  Make mealtime a family experience: Cook family favorites, share a meal, shop with a family member for food, and share the work of cleaning up after a meal. Everyone can help!
  Give children a chance to choose: Let them decide which vegetable to include with some meals. They will want to eat the foods they picked.
  Make the healthy choice, the easy choice: Have fruits and vegetables washed, cut and handy for snacks.
  Enjoy each other while enjoying meals: Eating meals together helps to strength-en relationships with one another.

How to Start
  Ease into it: Try setting a goal of eating to-gether once or twice a week.
  Start simple: You can always prepare an easy breakfast recipe like oatmeal. Even pre-pare the meal ahead of time. Just store it in the refigerator until it’s time to reheat and eat it.
  Create calm: Phones, TV, computer, video games and even the radio can interrupt your meal. Turn all or them off to help everyone relax.
  Get everyone involved: Make a list of tasks and let family members choose which they will do. Ideas include: shopping, choosing a healthful food for breakfast or dinner, setting or clearing the table and/or making the meal.
  Relax and connect: Agree to talk about problems at a time other than mealtime.

Adapted from website, part of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Published 10/5/15 at
Editor: Susan S. Aronson, MD, FAAP. Contact ECELS at: 484-446-3003 or 800-24-ECELS; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; PA AAP, Rose Tree Corporate Center, Bldg II, Suite 3007,1400 N. Providence Road, Media, PA 19063.

The attached ECELS Health and Safety Checklist includes references. It was updated December 2011 as Version 1.4. This tool guides the user to the appropriate national health and safety standard(s) and other related references for each item. Each item is cross-referenced with corresponding topics from: Caring for Our Children:  National Health and Safety Performance Standards, 3rd Edition, 2011 (CFOC) , the Environmental Rating Scales (ITERS-R, Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition; ECERS-R, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition); and the Pennsylvania Child Care Facility Licensing Regulations. Reviewed and reaffirmed 6/2018.

  • Influenza Vaccine for 2015-2016
  • Screen Time, Child Development and Nutrition
  • Organic Food – Is It Healthier?
  • Background Music and Noise Interferes with Language Learning?
  • Oral Health Screening Added to Routine Well-Child Visit Schedule
  • National Center on Health—Materials All Early Educators Can Use
  • Increasing Physical Activity in Afterschool Programs
  • Three Newly Revised and a List of All ECELS Self-Learning Modules
  • Eating Together - Mealtime Matters

This workshop uses the interactive curriculum from the Food Allergy Network. It includes a video and mock epinephrine (EpiPen) demonstration. Participants practice reading food labels to find hidden ingredients that are the same as common food allergens and learn the basics of food allergy and allergen types in foods. The group discusses how to modify the child care setting for a child with a food allergy, and a plan for handling a food allergy response. 

The FNIC federal website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a directory to credible, accurate, and practical food and nutrition resources for consumers, nutrition and health professionals, educators and government personnel. You will find links to current obesity prevention websites on the home page of FNIC - Dietary Guidelines for Americans, core messages about healthy eating, Let's Move, My Plate Super Tracker and more. 12/2012