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Herlyn Cresino Professor Goodwin EDEC 435 6 December 2017 Plan Assignment Statement of the Problem The lunches served in schools are often frozen, unhealthy, and unappetizing. Therefore, we need to improve the quality of food that is being served in order for them to be healthy and nutritious for young children. For some children, the lunch that is served at school is the only meal that they will have fo
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  Herlyn Cresino Professor Goodwin EDEC 435 6 December 2017 Plan Assignment Statement of the Problem The lunches served in schools are often frozen, unhealthy, and unappetizing. Therefore, we need to improve the quality of food that is being served in order for them to be healthy and nutritious for young children. For some children, the lunch that is served at school is the only meal that they will have for the rest of the day. Some children and families rely on school lunches because of low socioeconomic status or the inability to provide food on the table. Because of this, we need to ensure that children are practicing healthy eating habits and are being served high quality, nutritious foods that will benefit them while they are learning. Background Information School lunch programs date back to the 1940’s and have improved immensely since. At the time, the main concern for lunch programs was the surplus of agricultural products rather than a focus on nutrition (Woyshner, 2010, p.408). However, malnutrition was a common issue and healthy children reflected how prosperous and successful the U.S. was. Free meals were also limited to certain groups of children. Those that were left out were the poor African-Americans. Groups like the PTA and Black Panthers fought for African-Americans to receive free school lunches (Woyshner, 2010, p.409). According to Woyshn er, “Today nearly thirty million children in 98,000 schools eat lunch, and nearly 60 percent of school-aged children nationally get free lunches” (Woyshner, 2010, p.408).    Objective Studies have shown, “Healthier meals could raise student achievement by abo ut 4  percentile points on average” (Andersen, 2017). There is an evident correlation between healthy eating and academic performance which emphasizes the importance of providing nutritious foods. Healthy meals will not only benefit children’s overall well -being, but also their ability to focus and study in school. Most children aren’t eating the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables that they need on a daily basis. If they are not receiving it at home, then they should at least be consuming those amounts in school. Children spend a majority of their day in school so,  by taking advantage of that time, we could incorporate healthy eating habits throughout the day. School gardens are a great way of implementing and bringing awareness to the value of fruits and vegetables. I believe that by building a school garden, we could educate students about healthy eating and incorporate the fruits and vegetables that we grow into our school meals. Having a garden also creates a sense of responsibility, community, and togetherness because everyone is doing their part in looking after the fruits and vegetables that are being grown. Ethical Responsibility As advocates for young children, it is our responsibility to provide them with high quality care and services. It is also our responsibility to create and maintain healthy environments that support the whole child in all areas. The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct states that it is our responsibility, “To create and maintain safe and healthy settings that foster children’s soc ial, emotional, cognitive, and physical development and that respect their dignity and their contributions” (NAEYC, Ideal 1.5). By providing nutritious foods, we are preparing children for success in school. They are able to learn and focus more when they are consuming foods that are   beneficial for their brains and bodies. Therefore, it is our role to ensure that we are providing healthy, nutritious foods to support their development. Barriers and Challenges One of the main challenges of this issue is the lack of funding because building a school garden is a huge investment. It would be more likely for the garden to be successful in higher quality schools as opposed to schools in poor neighborhoods. This is simply because of how challenging it would be to find resources for the supplies and materials needed. Financial support is a necessity in this situation. Money would be required for materials, training, maintenance, and more (Davis, 2017). A lack of funding and resources is the main barrier in preventing this issue from being resolved. Parent, teacher, and community support are important for a school garden to be successful. Davis explains, “...  many participants felt they lacked much of the knowledge and support needed for a successful gardening program” (Davis, 2017). One of the challenges is volunteers and teachers not having the background information and training to properly care for a garden. This is important for maintenance as they will be the ones guiding and supporting children. Money is also needed in order for teachers to go through proper training to ensure the wellbeing of the garden. Another challenge is the availability of space in the school environment. Depending on the area, we could accommodate to that space by choosing a limited amount of fruits and vegetables to be grown. Growing and maintaining a garden is also time consuming. Finding time throughout the day and during vacations could be difficult in caring for the garden. Along with that, weather conditions have a heavy influence on the success of the garden (Davis, 2017). Cold,  rainy weather is not the ideal condition for growing fruits and vegetables. Building a school garden can be limited to certain areas because of weather conditions. Stakeholders The main stakeholders for this issue are the administration, school district, and teachers. They are responsible for making important decisions such as, building a school garden. Their  beliefs, values, and perspectives reflect on the school environment that they create. The resources, activities, and food that are provided are based off of the decisions they make. If they have a strong belief in the benefits and importance of providing healthy, nutritious foods in school, then it will make my proposition easier for them to agree with. They would be open-minded and accepting of the idea of building a school garden if we shared the same perspective on the issue. Another stakeholder for this issue are the children. The children are the ones who are going to be consuming and looking after the sc hool garden. Therefore, it’s important for them to understand the value and importance of growing, maintaining, and being responsible for the fruits and vegetables. Children will most likely be curious and intrigued in helping with the garden. They will learn to have a sense of responsibility which is a great life skill to have. Their curiosity could be brought into the classroom through connections to science or math lesson  plans. Most importantly, they are the ones who will be benefitting the most and their  perspectives are important for this issue. If the children aren’t passionate or interested in a school garden, it won’t be beneficial for them. But by teaching them the value of healthy eating, I  believe they will learn to appreciate the food that we grow and provide for them. Parents have an important perspective on this issue because they may not be able to  provide their children with healthy, nutritious foods. This could be due to low socioeconomic
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