Let's be Active While Having Fun and Eat Healthily

The project aims to raise children's awareness of the importance of balanced nutrition and physical activity through play. It is intended to guide the children in early childhood in terms of balanced and healthy nutrition; to gain habits about optimal nutrition, to organize entertaining activities and to adopt the importance of physical activity as well as nutrition for a healthy life.

Preschool education is an important process in which change begins for the future life of the individual. If the right activities are planned and implemented, these changes provide excellent opportunities for the lives of individuals. For preschool children, adults who can model them for gaining health-related habits are important. Generally, it is considerable that teachers, in this age group become a model for children and develop these behaviors in a positive environment. In this context, it is important that teachers become models for children. It is significant that teachers pay attention to the selection of healthy food for themselves, encourage children to taste food and adopt a more active life with them.

Preschool children learn by doing and experiencing. For this reason, a 12-week training program was prepared based on experiences with healthy foods and realizing how nutritious foods and physical activity can be fun when they participate in physical activities.

In 2018, a three-year cooperation protocol was signed with the Ministry of National Education, General Directorate of Basic Education for the purpose of raising healthy individuals through the “Let's Move With Fun and Let's Eat Healthy” project conducted by Pınar Institute.

In 2018, a three-year cooperation protocol was signed with the General Directorate of Basic Education of the Ministry of National Education in order to raise nutritional awareness at an early age with the aim of raising healthy individuals through the Let's Move With Fun, Let’s Eat Healthy project conducted by the Pınar Institute.

The project, which was carried out as a pilot in the 2016-2017 academic year, reached 2691 children in 39 preschools.

In the spring semester of the next academic year, the project conducted in Şehzadeler district of Manisa province, 26 kindergarten teachers were trained within the scope of Training of Trainers and approximately 600 children were reached.

 With the protocol signed between Education General Directorate of Ministry of Education Basic and Pınar Institute, in 2018 - 2019 academic year, efforts to broaden the project to all over Turkey has been initiated. Accordingly, the scope of the project was expanded in October 2018 with the Training of Trainers activities held in Aydın, Denizli, Muğla, Uşak and Manisa. In the 5 provinces were teacher training and subsequent practices were initiated; 100 kindergarten teachers, 92 independent kindergartens and 5458 children were reached. The project was awarded the second prize in the Social Sustainability category in Yaşar Group Sustainability Contest.

Educational Materials

Teacher Handbook: The 12-week training program in the activity book, “Deniz's Nutrition and Movement Diary” was developed to be implemented once a week, which is integrated with healthy eating and movement activities.

Nutrition Pyramid and Food Labels: Nutrition Pyramid, which is used in various ways all over the world, is designed as a poster and given to schools as 1 full, 2 empty pyramids in order to understand which foods are included in which food group and how much they should be consumed in order to be balanced and healthy nutrition.

 

Balanced Nutrition Plate: The Nutrition Plate model, which is widely used in the world and recommended by the Ministry of Health, was distributed to teachers in order to be used in the activities and to set an example.

Posters: The 4 main messages that were intended to be given through the project were printed as posters and distributed to the teachers to be posted in the places where children would see the most.

Activity Booklet:


A new booklet was added to the educational materials taking into account the child-centered family structure. In addition to the training materials handed out to each teacher as a set in the Training of Trainers activities (Teacher Handbook, Nutrition Pyramid and Food Labels, Posters, Nutrition Plates); An activity booklet containing worksheets was prepared in accordance with the activities in the Teacher's Manual. The teachers were encouraged to see the worksheets as an evaluation or reinforcement tool after the related activities and to hand out these worksheets by copying them as much as the number of children. The children were allowed to take these worksheets home after the activities so that the families also received information raised awareness about the subjects that children learned.

In addition to basic life skills such as self-care and hygiene, there are worksheets that contain 14 activities in the activity booklet such as physical activities like mimicking the movements of various animals and worksheets that children can paint as they wish on subjects such as foods that should be consumed all time or foods that should be consumed occasionally or on special occasions, nutrition pyramid, foods to be consumed in breakfast, healthy snacks.

Training of Trainers

Nutrition education in Preschool Children Training was provided by Lecturer Assoc. Dr. Özge Küçükerdönmez from Ege University Faculty of Health Sciences Department of Nutrition and Dietetics and Lecturer Dr. Dilek Ongan from Kâtip Çelebi University Faculty of Health Sciences.

In the training titled Nutrition in Preschool Children, eating behaviors specific to preschool children were discussed after the introduction to basic information such as the definition of health, factors affecting health, the importance of nutrition in life cycle, adequate and balanced nutrition, nutrients and their roles in our bodies, healthy nutrition pyramid, balanced nutrition plate.

During this period of high growth and development, the need for energy and nutrients increases. It is also a period in which children's self-nutrition increases, sensitivity to diseases increases and health problems due to insufficient and unbalanced nutrition are common. The main purpose of nutrition in preschool period is to ensure healthy growth and development, increase resistance to diseases, bone development, increase in cognitive ability and school performance and prevention of some diseases seen in older ages. Nutritional habits gained during this period are of great importance as they will be permanent and affect adult life as well.

In addition to this information, detailed examples and explanations about the frequency and amount of nutrition were included in the training. Nutritional behaviors and anorexia in preschool children were discussed. The effects of peer communication and positive motivation are mentioned and examples from various nutritional presentations were provided. TBS - 2010 (Turkey Nutrition and Health Survey) data were discussed regarding the energy balance. The importance of breakfast was mentioned, and the main meals and snacks were examined in detail with sample menus. It was emphasized that the main principle was to help children gain healthy nutrition habits in addition to choose the foods and its amount suitable for growth and development characteristics.

Within the scope of Training of Trainers activities Lecturer Işıl Betül Kolaşınlı from ıstanbul Esenyur University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Child Growth, made a presentation titled Physical "Activity in Preschool Children". The definition of physical activity, the difference between sports and exercise, physical activity status in our country according to TBSA data, benefits of physical activity, the methods to choose appropriate the physical activity were explained.

Examples of physical activities recommended by the Ministry of Health to children aged 3 to 4 such as running, jumping, playing with age-appropriate toys, dancing, cycling, games played with a ball, in-water and sand activities, group activities, and games to play with family and other children were discussed. ıt was also mentioned that some more complicated activities such as concentration and balance games, puss in the corner, hopscotch, hide-and-seek, handkerchief game, ball games, balloon dancing, animal imitations were recommended for children aged 4-5. Example games that can be played in the classroom and in the open space were visualized with the help of photos and videos.

After the training sessions on nutrition and physical activity, Project Consultant and Ege University, Faculty of Education lecturer Assoc. Dr. Sibel Sönmez explained the purpose of the project, the importance of healthy nutrition and activity concepts in the preschool period to teachers. She also explained why it is necessary to provide nutrition and activity education in preschool age, the importance of regular physical activity and play in child development, what are the health and healthy nutrition messages to be given to preschool children. Then the Training of Trainers session was completed with the implementation of the 12-week training program within the project and examples of the activity plans included in the Teacher Handbook in an interactive way with the participation of teachers.

Teachers stated that this training raises awareness about the necessity of balanced nutrition and physical activity in themselves and children and that the increase in the level of awareness increases their quality of life as well. Positive feedback was received from the parents of the participating children.

The project was linked to the Sustainable Development Goals of the year 2018.

In accordance with sub-objective 2.2, which is set in the objective of "Zero Hunger", the project aims to her "eliminate all forms of malnutrition in children under the age of five”. The project was implemented with the aim of preventing all kinds of nutritional problems from malnutrition to obesity.

Within the scope of "early warning against national and global health risks, enhancing the capacity of risk reduction and risk management" stated in the -article 3.d of "Good Health and Well-being” objective, it is aimed to prevent health problems arising nutritional problems and lack of physical activity through healthy living habits to be gained in childhood.

Within the scope of 4.2 sub-objective laid out in the "Quality Education" objective, "providing access to qualified early childhood development care and services and pre-school education in order to prepare all girls and boys for primary education" is one of the main objectives of the project. It is also aimed to "significantly increase the supply of qualified teachers" trough the nutrition and physical activity trainings given to teacher within the 4.c sub-objective.

The general message of the project is that healthy communities are possible with healthy children. The project is carried out with the awareness of responsibility and with the aim of contributing to contemporary education towards children, teachers, families who will be the architects of healthy societies.

 
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