Introduction to Healthy Eating: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” Journey

EC 1 is currently inquiring into How We Organize Ourselves: The food we eat. The Central Idea is The food we eat gives us nutrients, energy, and helps us maintain a healthy lifestyle. We started our unit by reading a book called The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. This book is illustrated beautifully and attracted our little learners to see a variety of different foods. We counted, discussed about the colors, names of food, sang songs and explored the food flashcards and students made connections to their favorite food.

Sensory Exploration of Foods: Colors, Textures, and More

In this unit, students explore food by using their senses.  They start investigating by seeing the different color of fruits/vegetables.  They compare the different sizes.  Next they feel the different textures that fruits, vegetables, and other foods have.  They use their sense of smell and taste as they explore fruits and vegetables as they peel the fruits/ vegetables’ skin, and squeezing oranges for orange juice.  Students chop vegetables using toy knife, and explore how the texture and shape change.  For example, students noticed how before they squeezed them, oranges were round and solid, and after they squeeze, it turns liquid and they can drink it as an orange juice. 

Connecting Classroom Learning to the Natural Environment

Nature walks around our campus is a great place to be able to investigate fruits in our school environment.

Students continue their learning, exploring and experimenting in our class not only with real food but also with toys for their free inquiry play. Students do dramatic play using our shopping cart to shop in our mini supermarket. In this area, they are learning and recall what food that they already know and learn new kinds of food.  Students also develop their language and social skills as they tried to communicate with other friends, and try to name the food that they used to play.  Students also develop their cognitive skills when they start to sort food by its group (colors).

Integration of Knowledge: Linking Feelings to Healthy Habits

We also relate our current unit “I like to eat eat eat” to our previous Unit, “My Feelings” by introducing them about feelings of being hungry and feeling full. It is important for our students to know about physical hunger and how to recognize and honor their appetite cues. By using  phrases such as “hungry belly” and “happy belly” with illustration poster pasted on our classroom wall, hopefully we can help young toddlers in EC 1 associate their physical sensation with hunger and fullness signs.  

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