Child Care Provider Training

Learn about healthy, affordable food choices and physical activities you can offer for children in your care. Topics available related to nutrition, literacy, and family life.

Intended audience: Early childhood professionals
Format: 2-hour classes; several topics available
Certification: Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) approved


  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words - Children are great imitators. They observe and imitate adults’ nutrition and physical activity practices. Explore ways you can be a positive role model for children in your care. Write an action plan for helping children develop healthy eating habits for life.
  • Color Me Healthy – Food Colors and Health - You can’t actually “eat the rainbow,” but you can eat foods the colors of the rainbow for better health. You’ll learn the health benefits of fruit and vegetable color groups and fun activities to increase children’s recognition and acceptance of fruits and vegetables.
  • Food Safety Escape Challenge - Are you up for the challenge? Explore topics like potentially hazardous foods, cross contamination, cleaning, and temperature to help your team solve the food safety puzzle.
  • Gardening with Children - Can digging in the dirt be good for children? Yes, when it encourages children to taste new vegetables that they’ve helped to grow. Gardening with children promotes a healthy lifestyle, early learning experiences, social development, and environmental stewardship. You’ll engage in experiential-learning gardening activities through crafts, literacy, container gardening, and taste testing.
  • I Only Want a Peanut Butter Sandwich! - Worried about the child who only wants to eat one food? Is this healthy? It can be frustrating when all a child wants to eat is a peanut butter sandwich. You’ll learn about eating habits that are normal for young children, strategies that promote healthy eating habits, and how to foster pleasant mealtime experiences—all while taste testing new foods.
  • Just a Bite—Managing Food Allergies in Child Care - Just a bite may be all it takes to cause a severe reaction to a food allergen. You’ll learn the common food allergens for children and the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. Join us to learn strategies and practical skills to provide an allergen-safe and healthy environment for the children in your care.
  • Linking Literacy with Food: Read, Learn, Eat! - Mix books with food experiences to introduce literacy to children. Early reading and language development help children be “school ready,” which increases their opportunities for academic success. You’ll experience new ways to connect with children as you incorporate food-related activities in lessons with well-loved children’s books.
  • Meal Planning Magic **title currently unavailable** - If only we could wave a wand and nutritious, convenient meals would suddenly appear! Since that won’t happen, instead you’ll learn best practices for planning and serving meals, physical activity, and health and safety for children under your care. Meal and snack planning will be discussed and demonstrated, and you’ll enjoy samples.
  • MyPlate in My Child Care: Four Easy Steps - With four easy steps, you will be on your way to help lay the foundation for lifelong dietary habits in children. We’ll explain four specific MyPlate recommendations you can implement as you plan meals and snacks in your childcare setting. You’ll practice revising menus to follow these four steps.
  • Safe Food for a Healthy Future - How do we protect children from foodborne illnesses? Assess your current food safety practices and develop action plans to improve using the FightBac! messages to fight foodborne illness.
  • Spend Smart and Eat Smart in the Child Care Business - Good nutrition does not have to be expensive. Children in your care can “eat smart” when you practice strategies to save money while incorporating new ideas into menu planning and food shopping.
  • Who Leads, Who Follows: Feeding and Physical Activity Division of Responsibility in Child Care - Who leads and who follows? That is the question! You’ll find the answers in this workshop as you identify who is responsible for what, when, where, and whether a child eats and is physically active. Learn which responsibilities belong to the provider and which belong to the child.
  • Building Resilience with Storybooks *offered as two, 2-hour classes*
    Reading with children supports their development, especially when using a technique called dialogic (or interactive) reading. Learn how to use books to help children understand their experiences, talk about their feelings, and develop problem-solving and coping skills to use in stressful situations.
  • Preschoolers and Pennies: Read, Talk, Learn, and Play - Children love to pretend they run a grocery store or a restaurant. Build on that interest with activities for preschoolers that practice money and literacy skills. You’ll explore ways to introduce and reinforce money-related words and concepts throughout the day as children learn and play.
Family Life
  • Eliminating the Barriers of Difficult Interactions with Parents
    A tricky question – “Who is in charge of the threshold when parents leave their children at child care programs?” Learn about the common barriers child care program staff experience as they work to create productive relationships with parents.
  • Flora, Fauna, and Family Engagement
    Looking for ways to engage children and families with outdoor nature-based play experiences? Learn how to incorporate nature-based best practices to improve the quality of your child care program.