ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program started working with preschool age children in 2007 in Henderson County through a partnership with Western Carolina Community Action. Through this work and our work with other childcare facilities, a number of farm to school resources were developed that target this specific age group.
ASAP co-facilitates the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and serves on the Farm to Early Care and Education Work Group of National Farm to School Network. We also work to provide farm to preschool training to Early Childhood Education instructors and students through our Growing Minds @ Community College program.
Why farm to preschool?
Early childhood is a critical stage of child development. Attitudes toward foods that are shaped at this time in life are strong determinants of later eating behaviors. Many preschool-aged children suffer from high rates of obesity and low consumption of, and access to, fruits and vegetables. It is imperative to establish healthy habits early on. Many preschoolers consume the majority of their daily nutrients in child care, and more than any other age group, they rely on parents and caregivers to shape their food and activity environments. Farm to preschool programming is an ideal way to establish healthy patterns in our youngest citizens and connect them to the food they eat, simultaneously supporting local food systems.
Farm to Preschool Resources
- Farm to Preschool lesson plans – Exploring local food and farms with your young learners doesn’t have to be challenging! Our preschool lesson plans are an easy way to build connections between the outdoor environment and the classroom while introducing children to new fruits and vegetables.
- Farm to Preschool Toolkit – All of our farm to preschool resources are compiled into our Farm to Preschool Toolkit. The toolkit contains all of our pre-K lesson plans, This Week in the Garden activity guides, and Farm to School Goes Home weekly newsletters for families. It also includes sourcing guidance, tips for cooking with young children, and more.
- This Week in the Garden: Preschool Edition – We have preschool versions of our popular This Week in the Garden resource. These weekly activity guides are available in PDF (to use as is) or Microsoft Publisher versions (tweak to your heart’s content and share with other teachers, or send home as a newsletter!). In addition to the weekly teacher resource, we have developed a take-home piece to share with parents and families.