• Animal Visits
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  • Food Preparation Techniques for Tasty & Healthful School Meals
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  • Staff Health Risk in Pregnancy

Early educators have a vital role in the lives of children. What teachers/caregivers do can directly impact each child’s health and wellbeing. Teachers need the knowledge, skills and tools to meet this awesome responsibility! ECELS recently revised three self-learning modules so they are now updated and easy-to-use in online or print formats:

Each module meets STAR Level 2 Performance Standards for Health and Safety and provides 2 hours of professional development credit. See the brief overview of each module below, click on the active link above or go to the ECELS website at www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org Select the Professional Development/Training tab at the top of the page, then Self-Learning Modules. Find the one you want to use in the alphabetical listing of the more than 30 Self-Learning Modules that ECELS offers.

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ECELS is collecting transition ideas. How do you get all the children's hands washed, and keep their hands clean until they sit together to eat? Without a sink for every child to wash at the same time, what activities do you use for children who wash first to wait for those who wash last? Send your favorite ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax them to 484-446-3255. We hope to collect good ideas to share in an upcoming issue of Health Link Online or as a Health Capsule.

The approaches you use are likely to differ for toddlers, preschoolers and school age children. You may have a routine transition or a collection of different approaches you use.

Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity. The  Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program on this website has excellent tip sheets with clear and well-illustrated ideas to use every day and on special occasions too. The two Appendices were updated in January 2013 and are excellent, brief guides for preventing choking and caring for children with food allergies.  2/18/2013

This government agency, USDA FNS manages many key nutrition assistance programs that support all Americans as well as special groups. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is the largest source of subsidy to child care operations by paying for food served to eligible children.  From the home page, select the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and then centers or family child care homes. Use this portal for information about the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program and other USDA food support programs also. 12/2012

Best Practices for Physical Activity. Nemours Health and Prevention Services, version 2 at www.GrowUpHealthy.org offers practical tips, gidelines and sample policies: 

Food-borne illness is very common. Every year, one of every 6 people get sick from “something they ate.” In warm weather, food brought from home and food out of refrigeration may reach temperatures in the danger zone for bacterial growth. Bacteria can multiply more easily when the temperature is more than 40 degrees F. and less than 140 degrees F. In a 2011 study, only 1.6% of the lunches with perishable items that children brought from home were at a safe temperature. Even when sent with ice packs, the temperature of most of the lunches was in the danger zone for over an hour before it was time to serve the food.


The ChooseMyPlate website has reliable nutrition advice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can sign up for regular email information at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. The December 10, 2014 ChooseMyPlate email was about whole grains. The suggestions are good for families and for early educators too.

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