To nurture the well-being of children and families enrolled in Mariposa Kids, we strive to provide nutritious snack options and lessons about food, meal preparation, and nutrition in our programming. Our Health & Nutrition Program provides a center of focus that is meant to prioritize good food health in children, while keeping in mind our core pillars of safety, play, and community.
Mariposa Kids incorporates physical activity into programming through free outdoor play that includes sporting and playground activities. Although we recognize the valuable role this plays in good health for children, we do not account for those activities in this program. Instead, we attribute that to our general free play model and we expect those general activities to evolve into a part of this program at a later time. This program is now centered around food and nutrition.
Food and nutrition can be a challenging topic for families and organizations that have tight budgets. Areas of the food industry also work very hard to attract the taste buds of children with high sugar and processed foods covered in bright colors and fun characters. Our Health & Nutrition Program will prioritize building healthy eating habits by providing nutritious snack options, incorporating fun activities around food into our daily planning, and providing services to parents/caregivers so they can bring nutritious habits in their homes.
Program Goals & Outcomes: A key goal of our Health & Nutrition Program is the inclusion of healthy and nutritious snack/food options in programming at Mariposa Kids. This program works to ensure we are nourishing the bodies of children involved in programs at our organization. By creating a program that incorporates lessons about food and nutrition both to children and their families, our goal is that children are wrapped in an environment that looks to good nutrition as the go-to option versus unhealthy food options (largely seen as high sugar and processed foods) that may prioritize convenience or cost.
A secondary goal of this program is having staff trained in food nutrition and able to navigate the food industry to properly stock the organization with healthy food options. This will allow our organization to make proper budget decisions around food based on the knowledge and experience of staff.
We will measure outcomes and our progress towards goals through participant feedback (both children and families) and general observations provided by the Program Director and Executive Director on a quarterly basis.
Partnerships: Mariposa Kids will be partnering with Joyful Family Cooking to help execute our Health & Nutrition Program in 2022. Joyful Family Cooking acts as consultants on best practices for food selection and distribution for children and families, as well as a direct service provider of activities for those that Mariposa Kids serves. Joyful Family Cooking provides training to Mariposa Kids staff on best practices for food purchasing and modeling nutritious snack options in a program. This ensures that MK staff, children, and families are all tracking in the same direction in these efforts and all aspects of our programming are aligned.