Creating a Farm to Early Care & Education (ECE) Program
Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) is a nutrition education program that aims to give children, ages 1 to 5, the opportunity to learn about healthy, local foods through:
- Cooking activities
- Taste tests
- Field trips
- Farmer visits
- Meals and snacks
- Nutrition lessons
Farm to ECE is different from other nutrition education curriculums because it teaches children where food comes from and how it is grown. When children help to grow or prepare fruits and vegetables, they’re more willing to try them!
Farm to ECE Goals
- To increase access to nutritious food and experiential opportunities in an effort to grow healthy children.
- To positively influence the eating habits of young children while their food preferences are forming.
Farm to ECE Program Expectations
Child care programs will provide the following:
- A weekly gardening activity
- A weekly nutrition education activity
- A monthly communication to parents about program activities
- A monthly update on activities you’ve completed
Colorado Shine Points
Meeting the Farm to ECE program guidelines can count towards Colorado Shines points for levels 3-5. Specifically, points can be allotted related to:
- Standard 5.6: Program offers nutrition information and education programs, annually, led by nutritionist or registered dietitian (2 points possible)
- Standard 5.7: Program has a garden and serves fruits/vegetables from the garden for children to taste (2 points possible)
Farm to ECE Support
Boulder County Public Health staff is available to support your program. You will be provided with:
- A toolkit with monthly calendars of activities and a blank calendar. Calendar activities are not mandatory but we’ll ask for an update on the activities you’ve completed each month. If you are implementing your own activities/curriculum, you can add your activities on the blank calendar. Calendars can be shared with Tori Lee.
- A template for family communication is provided with each calendar. You may use the template or create your own communication.
Complete this form to understand if your child care program is ready to implement the program.