REFC promotes healthy lifestyles for kids

August 7, 2017

Public Relations

True to the mission “to inspire, empower, and educate our community for leadership and success”, Palo Alto College serves as resource where anyone in our community can come and learn at any age. The Ray Ellison Family Center (REFC) is the College’s child care and developmental services center, which provides high-quality early childhood programming that supports the growth, development, and education of children and their families. This fall, the REFC will be expanding its programming to help encourage a healthy lifestyle for the children by teaching them where food comes from by building, growing, and harvesting food from their own garden.

“The value of having the garden here at the center is just bringing that awareness to our children and our parents. Eating healthy can be pretty pricey, but we’re showing them the means of how you can do this in your home for very low cost,” said Jennifer Flores, coordinator of the REFC. 

Under the guidance of Alma Segovia, the REFC cook, the children have already started learning about the process of composting – turning their uneaten food into soil. The children, ages 18 months to five years, have learned about the types of unused foods that can be used for composting, and the children observe Sergovia as she mixes the compost and is turns into soil. 

“Since our children don’t eat all of the food that is provided to them, we figured, why waste it why we can recycle it?” said Flores. “We’re trying to involve them as much as possible.”

Once the compost is ready, the students will use it to plant the garden where they will tend to and harvest fruits and vegetables. Teachers will implement relevant lesson plans, and the classes will share the chores of watering and ultimately harvesting their produce. 

In the end, Segovia will host a cooking activity, teaching the students how to prepare the fruits and vegetables they’ve grown. In addition to reinforcing healthy eating, Flores said the cooking activity will promote math, language, and cognitive skills for the young children. REFC plans to involve parents along the way, through demonstrations at monthly parent meetings and in-classroom activities about gardening and preparing healthy meals. 

“It’s just bringing awareness and getting our children outside and having a learning opportunity,” said Flores. “We’re really excited.”