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Early childhood education
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Children whose teeth are properly brushed with fluoride toothpaste at home twice a day and are at low risk for dental caries may be exempt since additional brushing with fluoride toothpaste may expose a child to excess fluoride toothpaste. The cavity-causing effect of exposure to foods or drinks containing sugar like juice may be reduced by having children rinse with water after snacks and meals when tooth brushing is not possible.
In facilities where tooth brushing is an activity, each child should have a personally labeled, soft toothbrush of age-appropriate size. No sharing or borrowing of toothbrushes should be allowed. After use, toothbrushes should be stored on a clean surface with the bristle end of the toothbrush up to air dry in such a way that the toothbrushes cannot contact or drip on each other and the bristles are not in contact with any surface 1.
Racks and devices used to hold toothbrushes for storage should be labeled and disinfected as needed. The toothbrushes should be replaced at least every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed When a toothbrush becomes contaminated through contact with another brush or use by more than one child, it should be discarded and replaced with a new one.
Or if toothpaste from a single tube is shared among the children, it should be dispensed onto a clean piece of paper or paper cup for each child rather than directly on the toothbrush 1,6. Children under three years of age should have only a small smear of fluoride toothpaste grain of rice on the brush when brushing. Those three years of age and older should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste 7.
Combs, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, personal clothing, bedding, and towels should not be shared and should be labeled with the name of the child who uses these objects. Toothbrushes, towels, and washcloths should be allowed to dry when they are stored and not touching 1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Facilities should have a written comprehensive and coordinated planned program of daily activities appropriate for groups of children at each stage of early childhood. The objective of the program of daily activities should be to foster incremental developmental progress in a healthy and safe environment, and the program should be flexible to capture the interests and individual abilities of the children.
These principles should address the following elements:.
References | Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers | The National Academies Press
All the principles should be developed with play being the foundation of the planned curriculum. The program plan should provide for the incorporation of specific health education topics on a daily basis throughout the year. Topics of health education should include health promotion and disease prevention topics e. Health and safety behaviors should be modeled by staff to foster healthy habits for children during their time in child care. Children attending early care and education programs with well-developed curricula are more likely to achieve appropriate levels of development 4.
Early childhood specialists agree on the. A written plan helps to define the service and contributes to specific and responsible operations that are conducive to sound child development and safety practices and to positive consumer relations 4. Professional development is often required to enable staff to develop proficiency in the development and implementation of a curriculum that they use to carry out daily activities appropriately 1. Planning ensures that some thought goes into indoor and outdoor programming for children.
The plan is a tool for monitoring and accountability. Suggestions for topics and methods of presentation are widely available. A certified health education specialist, a child care health consultant, or an early childhood mental health consultant can also be a source of assistance.
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J Nutr Educ Behav. Health and safety education topics for children should include physical, oral, mental, nutritional, and social and emotional health, and physical activity. These topics should be integrated daily into the program of age-appropriate activities, to include:. Families, including that families have varying compositions, beliefs, and cultures. Personal social skills, such as sharing, being kind, helping others, and communicating appropriately.
Nutrition and healthy eating, drinking water, including healthy habits and preventing obesity. Personal and dental hygiene, including wiping, flushing, handwashing, cough and sneezing etiquette, and tooth brushing. For young children, health education and safety education are inseparable from one another. Children learn about health and safety by experiencing risk-taking and risk control, fostered and modeled by adults who are involved with them. Health and safety education supports and reinforces a healthy and safe lifestyle 1,2.
Teaching children the appropriate names for their body parts is a good way to increase body awareness and personal safety.
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Learning about routine health maintenance practices, such as vaccination, vision screening, blood pressure screening, oral health examinations, and blood tests, helps children understand these activities and appreciate their value rather than fearing them. Similarly, learning about the importance of nutrition, drinking water, fitness, and healthy sleeping habits helps children make responsible healthful decisions. Good sleep hygiene 3 e.
Child care health consultants and certified health education specialists are good resources for this instruction. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing provides information on certified health education specialists. Healthy sleep habits: how many hours does your child need? Updated March 23, Accessed November 14, Sleep health literacy in Head Start families and staff: exploratory study of knowledge, motivation, and competencies to promote healthy sleep.
Sleep Health. Poor toddler-age sleep schedules predict school-age behavioral disorders in a longitudinal survey. Brain Dev. Owens JA, Witmans M. Sleep problems. Sharma M.
Health education and health promotion. Bedtime in preschool-aged children and risk for adolescent obesity. J Pediatr. Later emotional and behavioral problems associated with sleep problems in toddlers: a longitudinal study. JAMA Pediatr.
Sleep-disordered breathing in a population-based cohort: behavioral outcomes at 4 and 7 years. Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine; Published June Longitudinal impact of sleep on overweight and obesity in children and adolescents: a systematic review and bias-adjusted meta-analysis.