Munch & Move in action at Folly Foot Farm
For Tracey Yeomans of Folly Foot Farm Educational Children's Service, the Munch & Move training was practical and motivating. The challenge was to put the ideas into action back at the service!
The 234 children and 30 staff at Folly Foot Farm have many healthy outdoor opportunities to explore, including the animal farmyard and vegetable gardens. The Service is very proud of how they involve children of all ages in the care of the vegetable garden. They recycle via the compost and the worm farm and feed scraps to the animals. The best part is the children get to prepare, cook and eat the food they grow and even take some home!
As with many long day care services, Munch & Move highlighted much of the great work already happening at the service. For Tracey, it was also an opportunity to ‘think outside the square’ and ‘fine tune’ some small yet important aspects that make up a healthy environment for the children and their families.
“Going through the Munch & Move Checklist was by no means a small feat,” says Tracey. “It is very easy to tick the box and say, yes we do that, but when you look closely, you need to ask, how do we do that?, and how often?”
“The process surprised me initially with what I felt needed refining, but it helped me identify the priority areas and also opened the door for some innovation”, she says.
Two examples are:
- Educators are now identifying children who may need extra support and encouragement to be physically active. A few children were mostly playing in the sandpit and did not participate in active games. They now incorporate more active games into their daily programme to ensure these children join in the fun of being active.
- Increasing the times when educators take all children to get a drink of water is another change that puts policy into practice. Water is always available, but children need to be reminded and supervised regularly to ensure they stay well hydrated during the day.
Folly Foot Farm is now preparing to fine tune their policies and more importantly focus on how these are put into action each day. “We will also be focusing on promoting staff development activities and policy improvements to families”, says Tracey.
“It is very important to get all staff into the same mindset; helping them understand why this is important does take time but is well worth it. Each staff member can do their own little bit to contribute to improving practice at the Service” says Tracey. Taking small steps and accepting ongoing support from your local Health Service are also helpful tips from Tracey.