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Healthy Start

University of Missouri Extension has an exciting new program that we are offering to help compliment/supplement your current early childhood program— Healthy Start.

Healthy Start is a comprehensive preschool health education curriculum that helps children learn how to make important decisions about nutrition, physical activity, safety, hygiene, smoking and drugs, and sun-safety. Healthy Start is based on current theories of how children learn and how learning influences behavior. It was designed to accompany a variety of state-approved early childhood curricula, such as High Scope, Project Construct, and Creative Curriculum. Healthy Start has been successfully implemented in Head Start and other childcare centers across the country—benefiting the children, families and childcare center staff.

Healthy Start is based on helping children learn to make healthy choices:

  1. They need to know what to do to keep themselves healthy. (knowledge)

  2. They need to believe that healthy living is important. (attitude)

  3. They need an opportunity to practice good health behavior. (actions and behavior)

How can I get involved with the Healthy Start program?

By investing $200 in this program, you will obtain:

  • Staff training for the teaching and food service staff (6 clock hours for licensure)

  • Assistance/support for planning healthful meals/snacks

  • Comprehensive health curriculum to use in the classroom (over 150 learning activities—providing you with activities to use this year and the years to come)

  • Posters for the classroom

  • A music/story CD to accompany the curriculum

  • Take-home newsletters and activities for parents and their children

  • Three parent meetings (with food provided for tasting) led by University of Missouri Extension’s Family Nutrition Education Program (where available)

Training for your staff would be planned for 2005, with program implementation (in the classroom and with parents), scheduled for Fall 2005.

*Healthy Start was developed by Dr. Christine Williams, a pediatrician at Columbia University, NY. Healthy Start has been successfully piloted at numerous Head Start programs in New York. The project was initially funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. It is currently being used as the health education curriculum in Head Start programs nationwide. Recently, "Healthy Start" was piloted at a Head Start Center in Columbia, MO.

Healthy Start Program Areas

Classroom Activities

  • Curriculum

    • Comprehensive pre-school health education

    • 12 different units with numerous activities in each unit:

      1. Spectacular Me

      2. My Family

      3. My Amazing Body

      4. My Sun-sational Skin

      5. Know Your GO Foods

      6. On the GO Food Track

      7. Fitness Fun

      8. Germ Busters

      9. Drug-Free Me

      10. Getting Along

      11. Safe and Sound

      12. Healthy Habitat

    • Designed to have 3 learning activities taught each week. (approximately 20 minutes of class time/activity)

  • Music/Story CD provided to accompany the activities

  • Posters provided to compliment the different units.

Family Involvement

  • Monthly newsletters sent home to family with take-home activities to do with children

  • Parent group meetings with tasting parties (3/year)

Food Service Staff Training

  • Food Safety

  • Menu planning assistance

For more information about the Healthy Start program contact:

Candance Gabel, M.S., R.D.
Associate State Specialist
State Coordinator, Family Nutrition Education Programs
Nutritional Sciences
College of Human Environmental Sciences
University of Missouri-Columbia
308 Gwynn Hall
Columbia MO 65211-7700

Phone: 573.882.9760
Fax: 573.884.5449









University of Missouri Extension

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Last updated: 12/02/15