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Each month, NHSA Touchpoint shares insights into our latest work to support your programs, our community’s accomplishments and special events, and a love note or two. This month, we are taking a look at early nutrition and healthy eating habits. (Last month, we talked about parents.)

This Month’s Theme: Early Nutrition

According to a retrospective analysis of data, new cases of Type 2 diabetes increased 182% in the first year of COVID-19 compared to the year prior. The biggest increase? African-American boys.

Head Start recognizes good health and nutrition as the foundation of school readiness and child development, and we are uniquely positioned to intervene in situations like this. Here are a three free resources to spark your thinking about how to support early nutrition and healthy eating in your programs.

Early Nutrition Resources

  1. Promote Breastfeeding
    Currently, the Head Start Program Performance Standards require breastfeeding education for expectant families and accommodations for breastfeeding children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and many other health organizations recommend that babies breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. Watch our recent free training, hosted by Dr. Kimarie Bugg, president and CEO of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, a national nonprofit addressing breastfeeding inequities in the African American community, about the importance of early nutrition and how programs can better support their new moms.
  2. Grow Your Own
    NHSA and the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation work with Head Start programs across the county to teach children, families, and communities how to grow their own fresh foods . Learn more about these garden grants and explore NHSA’s free webinar series about how to create and sustain a successful Head Start garden program and the benefits for children, families, staff, and the surrounding community.
  3. Watch Jenny is a Good Thing
    In 1969, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare made a film, Jenny is a Good Thing, documenting the importance of the nutrition program in Head Start centers. Filming took place at centers in Florida, Indiana, and New Mexico and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary in 1970.

Love Note

I’ve got three programs to shout out this month. Anoka County, First Families in Minnesota, and the YMCA in Atlanta. All three of these programs sent folks to the Fall Leadership Institute to support The Academy. They sat on a panel to shared their experiences and they really brought their sincere thoughts and ideas with them to the table. Big thanks to their teams for taking the time to join us.

In Case You Didn’t Know: Parents Edition

NHSA Parent and Family Engagement Conference in December. The conference compliments many of our new classes at the Academy, like the Policy Council Basics just for parents on Policy Council, which provides a foundation of knowledge for Head Start. Hope to see you there!

Deborah Bergeron

Dr. B is the NHSA's deputy director of Community Engagement and Innovation. She supports high-quality programming and is a constant reminder to the folks on the ground that they are the backbone of Head Start and Early Head Start.

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Past Touchpoints

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

In this month's Touchpoint, NHSA Deputy Director for Community Engagement and Innovation Dr. Deborah Bergeron honors Native American Heritage Month.


Celebrating Head Start Awareness Month

In this month's Touchpoint, NHSA Deputy Director for Community Engagement and Innovation Dr. Deborah Bergeron gives a big shout out to Head Start Awareness Month!