Having worked in early years for 15 years, the issues surrounding the best outcomes for this most precious age group has been forefront in my mind. It went part of the parcel with being a mum, so you could say I had a very close and vested interest. Which is why I am supporting the launch of the Early Years Nutrition Partnership C.I.C; an independent social enterprise created in partnership with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, British Nutrition Foundation and Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, that will provide ‘hands-on’ support for early years settings aiming to improve their whole approach to nutrition practice, to help support improvements across the sector that will contribute to positive health outcomes for the current pre-school generation.
The Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYN Partnership) has brought together a unique network of self- employed, registered nutritionists and dietitians, each with extensive experience in the early years. They will work alongside and within early years settings, to help them achieve accreditation with a new EYN Partnership Quality Mark. The support provided by the nutrition professionals will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each particular setting and community in which it operates.
Early years settings that sign-up to the EYN Partnership will also be able to upskill their team with opportunities for professional development. The EYN Partnership will provide study places for a Level 3 CACHE award in nutrition and hydration in the early years, and early years setting chefs and cooks will be able to study for a Level 2 CACHE award in the preparation of meals to meet relevant nutritional standards in an early years setting.
If early years settings choose to do so, they can also access additional services from their EYN Partnership nutrition professional, such as the delivery of bespoke classes for parents, children or practitioners.
Integral to the EYN Partnership model is a commitment to support settings with the highest social deprivation needs, with an ambition that in the first year of the programme at least 10% of the settings registered with the EYN Partnership will benefit from subsidised access. A measurement framework and evaluation strategy has been developed to analyse the success of the programme in delivering demonstrable and sustainable social change.
According to the National Child Measurement Programme, one in every five children starting reception in England is either overweight or obese.1 Obese children and young people are more likely to become obese adults, and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood.2 Amongst other issues associated with poor nutrition in childhood, twenty five per cent of five year olds are reported to experience some tooth decay.
Neil Leitch, Chief Executive Officer of the Pre-school Learning Alliance and Chair of the EYN Partnership Board, says: ‘Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, and we know that eating a healthy diet during the early years has a significant impact on health outcomes later in life. Early years settings have an essential role to play in helping to establish good eating habits and positive learning about healthy eating. The Early Years Nutrition Partnership model, with its frontline help for practitioners from registered nutritionists and dietitians, offers a more collaborative approach to change at the local level. The Early Years Nutrition Partnership will bring about significant change that will have an impact on the future health of a generation.’
Please share this post with anyone who works in the early years sector as well as parents and carers of children under 5