Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage shows you how to provide a strong foundation for the future learning and development of the children in your care, covering all aspects of nutrition, exercise, emotional wellbeing and staying safe with specific regard to early years

Written by Pat Brunton and Linda Thornton

Living a healthy lifestyle is important for us all. Being physically active, eating a healthy diet, taking sensible precautions to ensure our own personal safety and recognising the importance of good mental health, all play an important part in determining our overall health and wellbeing.

A healthy lifestyle can:

  • reduce the risk of developing life-threatening diseases
  • increase the enjoyment we get from life
  • help us to live to an active and healthy old age.

Instill the good habits your children need to ensure a long life of health and enjoyment with Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Good habits learned when young tend to stay for life. As an early years practitioner you are in a unique position to influence the lives of the children in your care during this crucial early period. Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage will guide you through the processes of:

  • making healthy living a part of the vision and values of your setting
  • ensuring that all the policies and organisation of the setting promote healthy living
  • providing suitable experiences for young children to enable them to understand what healthy living entails
  • helping children to take responsibility for their own personal health and wellbeing
  • helping parents to understand what healthy living involves and how they can support their own children
  • acting as good role models for having a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy living is a holistic approach encompassing every aspect of life. For simplicity, Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage looks at four broad themes. These are:

  • exercise – the contribution exercise makes to good physical and mental health and how exercise affects the body
  • healthy eating – a review of why and what we need to eat, the importance of mealtimes, what constitutes a balanced diet and basic food hygiene information
  • staying safe – the importance of complying with statutory requirements for safeguarding children, the benefits of risk and challenge, basic safety information
  • emotional wellbeing – the important area of supporting young children’s emotional, personal and social development.

For each of these themes the handbook contains:

  • information to support the development of your setting’s policies and procedures
  • an introduction to the human body and how it works, in order to provide the scientific background knowledge needed to authoritatively promote healthy living
  • a range of activities to use as starting points to build young children’s understanding of a healthy lifestyle
  • a set of booklets for parents, providing some essential background information along with ideas for them to use with their children at home
  • a set of PowerPoint presentations for you to use with your staff during training sessions.

Includes PowerPoint presentations to use for staff training (flash).

Structure of Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage

Section 1 Healthy living in context

  • An overview of what healthy living means and why it is important.
  • A review of links between healthy living and the major government policy initiatives that affect the early years sector.

Section 2 Ideas and activities for children

  • A range of ideas and activities to use with young children to increase their understanding of what a healthy lifestyle means.
  • Written for three age groups of children: babies under the age of one; toddlers aged one and two, young children aged three to five years old.

Section 3 Information for parents

  • 12 separate eight-page booklets for parents.
  • A booklet for each age group and theme.

Section 4 Background knowledge for practitioners

  • Background information and scientific knowledge to support healthy living.
  • Organised into four themes – exercise, healthy eating, staying safe and emotional wellbeing.

Section 5 Professional development resources

  • A set of six short PowerPoint presentations for use in training sessions.
  • Designed to be used as a professional development tool by setting managers.

Section 6 Sources of information

  • Draws together the sources of information from each of the sections of the handbook.

Healthy living and national guidelines

Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage supports the policy documents, statutory frameworks and guidance materials that define the way in which early years services in this country are provided, including:

  • Every Child Matters
  • The Children’s Plan
  • Children’s Health Strategy
  • Sure Start Children’s Centre services
  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Ofsted registration and inspection criteria
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice
  • National Healthy Schools initiative
  • Common Core of Skills and Knowledge
  • National Occupational Standards for Children’s Care, Learning and Development
  • Early Years Professional Status Standards
  • Learning through Landscapes core values
  • National Quality Improvement Network principles.

About the authors
Pat Brunton has more than twenty years’ experience of preparing training materials and delivering training to a wide variety of audiences including school governors, early years and childcare practitioners and Sure Start professionals. Pat’s background as a research scientist has led to an increasing interest in the idea of babies and young children as researchers and to involving families in their children’s learning through science and technology. Pat currently provides consultancy and training for local authorities, schools and nurseries across the UK.

Linda Thornton has more than thirty-five years’ experience in education and childcare, as childminder, playgroup leader, headteacher, adviser and lead officer for early years. She is passionate about developing children’s thinking and learning, valuing creative learning environments and encouraging educators to think about the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ in their approach to teaching. Throughout her career she has been involved in the planning and delivery of training at local, regional and national level.

Linda and Pat co-edit the Optimus Education newsletter Early Years Update and write for Nursery World, Early Years Educator, Early Education and Montessori International. They have co-authored several books including ‘Understanding the Reggio Approach’, ‘Bringing the Reggio Approach to your early years practice’, ‘Early Years Handbook’, ‘Science Matters’ and ‘Science in the early years’ and several Little Books for Featherstone Education. ‘Healthy Living in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ is their latest collaboration for Optimus Education.

ISBN: 978-1-905538-55-3