Friday, April 24, 2009

Nutrition and Health in the Montessori School: Healthy Eating Tips and Resources

NAMC Montessori school nutrition and health tips toddler eating
Almost every parent knows, on some level, how challenging it can be to develop a nutritional diet that works for children. I am no exception; my teenage son has very selective taste buds, but we have persevered and managed over the years to raise a very robust and healthy young man on a fairly limited diet. Many families with busy lives face similar challenges. It has become far too easy and convenient to choose prepackaged, processed, and/or fast food, and eating “on the fly” has become a habit in many families. This, coupled with pressures from children themselves, who want whatever sweet or salty product is being marketed to them, has resulted in some alarming statistics related to childhood health. The key to addressing this problem, as Dr. Montessori would no doubt tell us, is education.

It seems that there is a very positive shift taking place when it comes to children’s health and nutrition. More and more information about healthy choices – whether it be physical activity, personal well being, or nutrition and diet – is available than ever before, and more organizations and institutions are taking an active part in informing and assisting families with these choices.

Nutrition and Health in the Montessori School: Healthy Eating Tips and Resources

Even schools are developing “healthy kids” campaigns which focus on educating teachers, students and parents. These kinds of programs encourage everyone to learn more about health and nutrition, helping to develop simple ways for improving diet, beginning with choices made in the grocery store or supermarket. I have had the happy experience of launching two such campaigns for Montessori schools in which I have worked, both with very positive results. With the participation of parents, the results were noticeable. Within a few weeks, with children bringing more nutritional meals and snacks to school, we observed improved behavior and attention in our Montessori students. Parents, too, were seeing similar, significant changes at home.

NAMC Montessori school nutrition and health tips child with vegetablesThe Montessori philosophy emphasizes environment as being pivotal in the healthy development of children. This encompasses the classroom, the home, and even the community. In this, the first part of a two-part series, we offer some web links that provide information and ideas about healthy nutrition for children. In Part 2, we’ll discuss further ideas for planning and implementing a “healthy kids” initiative that Montessori teachers, parents and students will enjoy and benefit from.

Always do your best to model the food habits you wish your Montessori students to adopt. After all, who better to direct them down the path to good nutrition than their Montessori guide?

Here are some healthy eating ideas and resources:
The NAMC elementary health sciences manuals offer a comprehensive curriculum aimed at educating and nurturing health and wellness for Montessori students:
For more on this topic, see NAMC's blog on Modeling Good Nutrition in the Montessori Classroom.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, April 24, 2009.

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