Child Care Centers Create Healthier Plates and Play Spaces for Young Children

Two programs are changing the way children eat and play in child care centers in Wake County, and four groups are working together to raise awareness about the healthy weight of children. At a recent Farm to Preschool Day celebration, Advocates for Health in Action (AHA), Wake County Cooperative Extension, Natural Learning Initiative and Wake County SmartStart (WCSS) shared how they are working with child care centers to create environments with healthy choices. 

Raleigh Nursery School is one of eight centers that participated in a 9-week summer Farm to Child Care pilot program that provided local produce as snacks for 700 children and staff. Farmer Bennie Glenn of Genesis Farm in Holly Springs delivered locally grown produce to Raleigh Nursery School and other centers weekly. The project was funded by a grant from the John Rex Endowment and organized by AHA, WCSS and Wake County Cooperative Extension. 

During the Farm to Preschool event, children worked alongside Farmer Glenn and planted fall crops in raised beds, which are part of the new outdoor environment and gardens developed by the Natural Learning Initiative NC State University with grant support from the John Rex Endowment. 

The Raleigh Nursery School is also one of eight Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) model-Wake best practice demonstration sites focused on converting playgrounds into active, productive Outdoor Learning Environments (OLEs). The eight child care centers will receive design assistance and training so they can better serve as models to spread the knowledge and reach 60 additional childcare centers in Wake County during a three-year project. POD-Wake’s goal is to create interactive, edible OLEs over several growing seasons.  

Read the Eastern Wake News article about a local child care center celebrating healthy eating with pumpkin patch.

For more information about Farm to Child Care watch the WNCN video.

Learn more about the POD and OLEs.