The Early Sprouts Philosophy and Approach | 19
for their participation. The cooking tools we use are selected with safety and success
in mind. Children use table knives with fine serrations and stir with long-handled
wooden spoons. They use graters to shred carrots or cheese and child-sized kitchen
scissors to cut greens. They operate the blender or food processor only with adult
supervision. Each recipe for cooking with children includes tips that have been field
tested by experienced preschool teachers.
Sanitation is very important in the Early
Sprouts program. We emphasize the importance
of hand washing before handling food, after tast-
ing, after sneezing or coughing on hands, and after
touching something that might be dirty, such as
shoes or something that fell on the floor. We do
not use any raw meat products in our recipes, so
the issue of cross-contamination or infection from
undercooked meats does not come up. Research
indicates that young children usually don’t know
when they need to wash their hands; however,
when they are taught the importance of proper
hand washing, they are eager to comply (Witt and
Spencer 2004). For that reason, it is important to
teach about hand washing and remind children to
wash their hands whenever they participate in an
Early Sprouts activity.
The Early Sprouts program recognizes that families play a significant role in
the development of young children’s food likes and dislikes (Birch and Fisher 1996).
Families are vitally important in the care and education of young children. They
provide an intergenerational, inclusive environment in which children interact and
learn from people of all ages and abilities in the home. Families are the child’s first
and most important teachers and, as such, they provide the context for early feed-
ing and food choices. They model eating habits every time they select, prepare, and
eat meals, shaping children’s future eating habits. If as early childhood educators we
want to have a positive impact on the children we teach, we must find positive ways
to connect with their families.
We recognize that families with young children face many challenges to devel-
oping healthful eating habits, including limited time and knowledge to prepare
nutritious meals. They are bombarded by fast-food and food-product suppliers’
marketing, and they may not know how to influence picky eaters. Through the
Early Sprouts program, we share knowledge with families. (Chapter 5 describes the
accepting approach we use to discuss these issues and educate families. It also details
How to wASH Your HANdS
Wet your hands with warm running water.1.
Wash your hands for at least twenty sec-3.
onds. Sing the entire “ABC Song” while you
rub the fronts and backs of your hands and
your fingers, thumbs, and wrists.
Rinse your hands with the fingertips point-4.
ing down so the soap goes down the drain.
Turn the faucet off with a paper towel so 5.
you don’t get your hands dirty again.
Dry your hands with a clean paper towel.6.
Throw the paper towel in the trash.7.
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