Quality Indicators Relevant to Early Childhood Education and Care Services

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There are various significant practices which promote health and safety in early childhood centres to take in to account. This essay focuses on nutrition across the early years, providing a safe environment and identifying and responding to childhood illness and how teachers can encourage and promote these practices to the children.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (2008) states that during early childhood, children form lifelong eating habits, therefore it is important to have a focus on nutrition across the early years in order to foster a healthy eating culture and enable children to develop healthy behaviours in relation to food. A teacher has an important role in helping children develop these behaviours and can promote healthy eating and healthy food choices in a number of ways. Teachers can promote good nutrition by including children in the cooking process or growing fruits and vegetables within the centre environment. These experiences provide ample opportunities for the discussion of nutrition and what is healthy and unhealthy. The Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2008) asserts that children must be served food at appropriate times and that it is to meet the nutritional needs of each child. It explains that all food provided during the hours a service is open must be recorded. These records must show the type of food provided and be kept for three months after the serving date. Promoting food safety to the children is also an important aspect of nutrition, this includes role modelling the careful storage of food, hygienic preparation and use of tongs when serving food.

Providing a safe environment gives children a better place to play and allows them the freedom to explore their environment without the risk of injury. MoE (2008) declares that ample and changeable indoor and outdoor equipment, resources and furniture must be provided for the children and that it also...
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