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CHILE Plus Curriculum

The Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise (CHILE) nutrition and physical activity curriculum was developed by a team from the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center, along with Head Start teachers, directors, nutrition coordinators, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents about their children’s health and eating habits. It is designed to be carried out over the course of two years, then repeated. The purpose of CHILE Plus is to improve nutrition and physical activity behaviors through classroom meals, lessons and activities, supplemented by family educational materials and face to face family events.

CHILE Plus utilizes the CHILE curriculum, which has been carried out in Head Start centers across New Mexico since 2008. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate for children ages 3 to 5 years and is designed to meet Head Start Performance Standards. Every lesson addresses at least one Domain in the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.

Nutrition Curriculum Introduction

Research has shown that “food neophobia,” or an unwillingness to try new foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is common among very young children, and that children may need up to 20 tasting opportunities to develop a taste for a new food. CHILE Plus is designed to offer 8 tasting opportunities for each fruit or vegetable in the childcare setting, allowing parent and caregivers to provide additional opportunities. It is comprised of eight modules with eight lessons within each module. Four vegetable lessons and four fruit lessons. Four come from the nutrition lessons, four come from the incorporation of the fruit or vegetable in meals and snacks, and hopefully up to an additional four more will be offered by parents and caretakers at home. There are three lesson types: Food Detectives, Taste Testers, and Let’s Get Cooking. During each lesson, children participate in experiential learning by taking on the role of a food detective, taste tester, or a chef and taste a fruit or vegetable in each lesson.

Modules 1 through 8

  • Module 1: Bell Pepper and Melon
  • Module 2: Broccoli and Pear
  • Module 3: Tomato and Pineapple
  • Module 4: Spinach and Apple
  • Module 5: Squash and Peach
  • Module 6: Sweet Potato and Orange
  • Module 7: Cucumber and Strawberry
  • Module 8: Asparagus and Kiwi

Physical Activity Curriculum Introduction

Guidelines from the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) state that preschool-age children should engage in 60 minutes of structured activity per day, AND 60 minutes (and up to several hours) of unstructured activity per day. Curriculum activities are used to add at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day to a usual recess and activity schedule.

Exercise Breaks

Exercise Breaks are designed to be short in duration and require a small space, with little-to-no equipment. Exercise Breaks are a great way to transition children from one activity to the next and help them to be more focused throughout the day. Exercise Breaks can be performed in the classroom, outside or in a large room such as a gymnasium or meeting room. Remember, each time a child is physically active, it is an important step toward fulfilling the national recommendations for preschool-aged children of 60 minutes of structured and 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity each day.

Game Time

Game Time lessons are physical activity lessons that are comprised of 4 parts: Warm-Up, Activity 1, Activity 2 and Cool Down. Game Time lessons usually require teachers to lead games that have rules children must follow. Most Game Time activities require more space than an average classroom provides, so teachers are encouraged to teach Game Time lessons outside or in a large room such as a gymnasium or meeting room.

Move 'N' Groove

All of the activities in the Move ‘N’ Groove Kit are designed to encourage movement through music and dance. Encourage children to move and groove as they please. Have fun and enjoy watching them spin, turn, dance, float, shake and wiggle with delight!