by Kelsey Porter, The Food Trust
Food has always been part of York Day Nursery’s early care and education approach. Every school day, the urban site serves breakfast, lunch and snack to around 100 children through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. And under Program Director Lisa Rumsey’s leadership, York Day Nursery does much more. On a typical week, students can be found getting their hands dirty in a raised bed vegetable garden; learning about plants, science and our environment in an outdoor classroom; or crunching on local apples from nearby Flingbach Orchards in the cafeteria.
With more than three decades of experience in early care and education, Lisa knows that “children need to be outdoors” and that outdoor play and experiential learning are crucial to their happiness and development. Farm to early care and education is one strategy York Day Nursey uses to achieve these goals. Additionally, the site engages parents and staff in both gardening and healthy eating. Successful parent engagement strategies include weaving these concepts into existing parenting workshops, hosting caregiver/child lunches and encouraging parents to lend a hand in the garden. Further staff education and professional development opportunities are in the works for future years.