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Cultivating healthy habits for our littlest eaters
NEW RESOURCE: Growing Head Start Success with Farm to ECE
Head Start offers vital, high quality early care and education (ECE) opportunities to low-income families across the country. Farm to ECE offers benefits that support the goals and priorities of the early care and education community, with a particularly strong alignment with Head Start priority areas, including an emphasis on experiential learning opportunities, parent and community engagement, and life-long health and wellness for children, families and caregivers.
The National Farm to School Network has created Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education to promote understanding amongst Head Start stakeholders (including state level directors and collaboration office staff, directors, teaching staff, health coordinators, trainers and advocates) of how farm to ECE can support achievement of Head Start Program Performance Standards and actively contributes to learning and development benchmarks as outlined in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. This resource aims to highlight how farm to ECE elements, implemented individually or in combination, may address multiple domains and standards, and provide significant benefits for children, families and communities.
Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) offers increased access to the same three core elements of local food sourcing, school gardens and food and agriculture education to enhance the quality of the educational experience in all types of ECE settings (e.g., preschools, child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start/Early Head Start, programs in K - 12 school districts). Farm to ECE offers benefits that parallel the goals and priorities of the early care and education community including emphasis on experiential learning opportunities, parent and community engagement and life-long health and wellness for children, families and caregivers.
NFSN Farm to Early Care and Education Webinar Archive
The quarterly Farm to ECE Webinars presented by NFSN offer in-depth discussions, case studies and tools and tips for implementing farm to ECE at multiple levels.
Success in State Level Partnerships: This webinar offers insight into ECE agencies and organizations, and highlights opportunities for state level partnerships to advance farm to school in ECE environments. Speakers from USDA CACFP, Child Care Aware of America and the Iowa Head Start Collaboration Office share their work and answer questions.
Leading & Convening in Farm to Early Care and Education
As the hub for farm to school information, networking and advocacy, the National Farm to School Network educates early care and education stakeholders at the local, regional and national levels on the opportunities inherent in farm to school for early childhood development. We also train our farm to school partners to be leaders in applying farm to school in early care and education settings, convene national stakeholder groups to increase connectivity among diverse early childhood partners, and advocate for policies that support high quality early care and education and healthy local food systems.
National Farm to School Network’s vision for the future of farm to early care and education:
Access to healthy, local foods, gardening opportunities and food-based activities to enhance the quality of the educational experience is the “new normal” in early care and education
All early care and education providers, regardless of geographic location, type of program or socioeconomic status, have access to sufficient information, resources and support and are empowered to successfully implement farm to early care and education initiatives
Farm to early care and education outcomes and benefits are clearly understood as parallel and aligned with the goals and priorities of the early care and education community
A wide variety of stakeholders from diverse sectors are engaged in collaborative efforts to expand access to healthy, local foods and high quality educational experiences for young children
The National Farm to School Network’s early care and education work is supported in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Key resources for farm to early care and education: