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Nutrition talk for preschoolers set for Saturday

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POSTED March 27, 2014 1:21 a.m.

Keeping children active and healthy from a young age, and emphasizing the importance of preventing childhood obesity is at the heart of a nutrition class sponsored by Manteca Unified’s School Readiness Department.

The event, set for Saturday, March 29, from 10 a.m. until noon, will be presented to preschoolers and their parents who are the target group of this educational workshop. It is specifically geared for First 5 qualified families.

First 5 School Readiness Initiative programs aim to provide a wide range of services to help children from birth to age 5 get ready for school, with families, community members, and educators involved in the process.

In the class being offered this weekend, community involvement in this educational venture include students in Lathrop High School’s ROP Careers with Children and their teacher, Jennifer Myers, as well as a representative from the be.tech Culinary Arts program of the school district.

The nutrition classes for the preschoolers and their parents are conducted through a “mommy and me” hands-on workshop.

The class taking place on Saturday is part of an ongoing series being offered by MUSD’s School Readiness Department to First 5 families.

“In our class last month, the students presented information about the importance of proper nutrition for young children, the importance of preventing childhood obesity for life-long health, and proper serving sizes for their children,” Myers explained. “It is very important to get this information out to parents of young children so that we may help educate them on how to prevent childhood obesity.”

She added, “Obesity is an issue that is easier to prevent than to treat and it starts with educating parents about what they can do to teach good habits to their children from a young age.  As an educator, who spends time in classrooms of children 0-18 years old, it is apparent that there is a need to get our kids active and healthy.  The goal of these classes is to get parents and children involved and excited about making healthier choices from a young age.  Simple ideas like hands-on snacks that allow children to create their own healthy snack get them excited and participating in their own health.  At-home gym ideas using pantry items or laundry detergent bottles, active-BINGO; these things are great alternatives to TV watching and games on electronic devices.”

There will be, at least, three ROP students that will be taking part in the workshop, “possibly a couple more if it works out with their schedules,” Myers said. They include Lathrop High seniors Taylor  Conley, T.J. Conley, and Celia Vasquez.

“T.J. and Taylor led the first class we had last month and really enjoyed their experience. They immediately asked me if they could do the next one; they felt it had been a great success and were pleased with the parents’ interest and feedback,” she said.

For more information about Manteca Unified’s School Readiness programs, call Eva Mauch at the school district office at 209.858.0849.

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