Update: TBDHU- Children Involved in Handling Food in Child Care

We have received some exciting news that programs may once again allow children to assist in preparing and handling food!

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit wishes to remind programs to adhere to the Guidelines for Food Handling for Children   Please share this resource with your colleagues!

We know that our programs have missed these engaging opportunities for children and how important food preparation can be for fostering the Four Foundations! We can’t wait to hear about your cooking adventures.

For any further questions, feel free to reach out to the Public Health Inspector, whose phone number can be found at the bottom of the link to the guidelines document.

Indigenous Knowledge Exchange- Food Sovereignty

The Indigenous Professional Learning Team is extending an invitation to early years professionals to attend an upcoming Knowledge Exchange Gathering.

September 22, 2021 from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT

This month Elders, Knowledge Keepers and early years professionals will share about the importance of Indigenous food sovereignty in relation to belonging, wellbeing, expression and engagement for children in the early years.

Click HERE to register by Monday September 20, 2021 at 4:00 pm EDT.

Online Professional Learning Opportunities

Are you looking for ways to keep busy while social distancing? Below is a list of websites and webinars that may be of interest to you or your staff. 

Storing and Preparing Breast Milk

Families attending child care may choose to provide expressed breast milk or formula for their child(ren).  When this is the case, staff must ensure that they are storing and serving these items safely and hygienically.

According to p.7 of How Does Learning Happen?, “Families love their children and want the best for them. Families are experts on their children. They are the first and most powerful influence on children’s learning, development, health, and well-being. Families bring diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Families should feel that they belong, are valuable contributors to their children’s learning, and deserve to be engaged in a meaningful way.” Supporting families’ decisions around feeding fosters all of the Four Foundations (Belonging, Well-Being, Engagement, Expression).

Below are two resources that can be shared with all staff who may serve breast milk to children about how to safely and hygienically store and serve breast milk.  These resources can easily be posted in the programs as a visual reminder for educators on the guidelines around storing and preparing breast-milk.  The source of this information is the Best Start resource Breastfeeding Matters (L’allaitement ça compte) and the second resource is also from Best Start, Expressing and Storing Breast Milk.

Families may also choose to provide infant formula for their child at child care.  The instructions for preparing and serving formula are included on the packaging.  Here is a resource from Best Start called Infant Formula: What You Need to Know.  This resource has information about safely and hygienically preparing, serving, and storing formula.

If programs or staff have additional questions about feeding, how to safely store breast milk, they can view the above PDFs for free at the link provided, or contact the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.  Be sure to also check out the Best Start website for other resources for families at your centre on child health and development.

Nutrition Make n Take

Thank you to all the educators who came out to join us for the Nutrition Make and Take yesterday! Megan Bellinger, public health dietitian, and her student, Ferran, inspired us with the information they provided on gardening with children and promoting vegetables and fruits in child care settings. We were also spoiled by Megan with a fruit tasting to start off our day. Megan shared with us a variety of unique fruits, including dragonfruit, nectarines, and Asian pears.

After learning some new tips and tricks to bring back to the program, the educators were given some time to create a variety of resources! We had fun making puzzles, matching games, and lacing activities. See below for a sneak peek of what we got up to yesterday.

Also, a big thank you to Deb at CTC for assisting with the die presses and the laminating. We appreciate all the help and resources that CTC has to offer to our community!

The feedback that we received from this session was very positive and one educator wrote, “Awesome presenters. Lots of knowledge/engaging/inspiring. Great time of year to offer this. Loved having time to make resources. Thank you!”  We are thrilled that this style of session was such a hit and we look forward to offering another make-and-take session in the fall!

Eat Local Cooks Session

Thank you to everyone who came out to join us for the “Eat Local” session last week. Lots of information was shared and we had lots of discussions between us. The session was so engaging that it was scheduled to end at 3:00 and we were still discussing and sharing after 3:30!

We had Megan Bellinger from the TBDHU talk about the local food movement and introduce us to what it means, why it’s important, how to get started and more. Additionally, we had two amazing guest speakers join us.

First, we had Dayln Bryan from Superior Seasons who discussed how Superior Seasons is making it possible to eat local. Dayln let us know that deliveries are made on Wednesdays and Saturdays and are free to businesses. Check out the Superior Seasons website for more information and for a list of producers in the District of Thunder Bay (superiorseasons.ca).

Secondly, we had Heather Conrad from the Children and Family Centre who presented a frontline perspective on how she gets creative with using local foods in her meals. Heather is very passionate about this topic and it was inspiring to hear what she had to say. One of the many great mentions that Heather made is the value in building relationships with the local farmers. Not only do local foods provide nutrition for the children, but we can also visit the farms where the foods are grown and invite farmers into our programs.

Thank you to all of our presenters. You’ve reminded us how important networking is. We are infinitely thankful for the knowledge and ideas that were shared and we look forward to partnering with you again in the future!