SENSORY- BASED FOOD EDUCATION IN THE EARLY YEARS....
What is Sensory-Based
Sensory-based food education is a way of teaching that allows children opportunities and experiences to engage all their senses to explore food and all its wonderful natural characteristics.
Children are naturally curious because they are learning through every experience and social interaction they have, so it is no surprise that sensory-based food education supports their natural curiosity by allowing them to explore food with their senses - looking, smelling, touching, listening and tasting.
Sensory-based food education encourages children to use all five senses when eating and trying new foods; and uses a variety of methods to do so such as storytelling, song, art, craft, games and creative play.
Children are given an active role around food and are encouraged to share their sensory experiences with those around them.
What Does the Research Say?
Research has shown that sensory-based food education given to 3-5 year-old children in preschool, increases their willingness to choose vegetables, berries and fruit at meals.
Sensory-based food education offers new tools for promoting healthy dietary habits in early childhood education and care.
Eating behaviours and food preferences established in the first few years of life, tend to persist into adulthood.
Repeated exposure to fruits and vegetables, including opportunity for children to use all their senses, has been shown to result in increased acceptance and increased consumption of those foods.
Why Rainbow Plate?
Raising Happy Eaters in today's world of readily accessible processed foods is no mean feat. We have lost our connection to the wonders of natural food as we rely more heavily on packaged food due to our time poor lives.
What we know is that the foods children begin to eat at a young age can help to predict what they might choose to enjoy later on in adulthood, which is why it is so important to start educating children as young as possible about fruits, vegetables and healthy eating.
Here at Raising Happy Eaters, we use The Rainbow Plate Approach to facilitate creative sensory-based food education incursions in preschools.
Rainbow Plate is a Toronto-based social enterprise founded by Janet Nezon that creates and delivers evidence-based, interactive food education programs for children.
The Rainbow Plate Approach, is a joyful sensory-based program that uses rainbows of real food to spark children's imaginations, change behaviour and cultivate lifelong healthy eating habits.