The tensions between food choices and sustainable practices in early childhood centres

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Publication details

Boyd, W 2015, 'The tensions between food choices and sustainable practices in early childhood centres', Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 58-65.

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This study explored how educators implement policies that support children’s health and wellbeing, and that promote sustainable practices in five Australian early childhood (EC) centres. In early childhood centres where parents provide the food, educators are responsible for supervising children’s eating and often have to manage children’s food that is highly processed and packaged. Interview data from children, parents and educators from five EC centres where parents provide children’s food was analysed. The key findings demonstrate that the differing perspectives by the educators, parents and children produced challenges for enactment of healthy food choices and sustainable practices, even though EC centres sought advice from government agencies. Parents’ food decisions were often misaligned with centre policies and children were frequently caught between the EC centre’s policies and parents’ choices of food. Educators felt ineffective influencing parents’ food choices and sustainable practices regarding waste minimisation. A holistic educational approach is required where all stakeholders have social responsibility towards this approach.