A new and improved website for Healthy Start!

We are happy to share the new and improved look of our website. Now it is even easier to interact with the Healthy Start team and our services. Healthy Start offers a variety of training opportunities and resources for educators, teachers and parents. We want you to be able to choose the services and register for training that works for you! Training: You can now register from our website for the following training or sessions: Healthy Start Webinars Healthy Start Online Course Healthy Start Workshops in Saskatchewan Healthy Start for Active Kids workshops in New Brunswick Healthy Start for Families Visit the Training section of our site. Toolkit: On our site you’ll find a variety of tools and resources to help you easily incorporate physical activity and healthy eating in the daily lives of young children. The resources featured have been used in the over 400 early years programs that have taken part in Healthy Start. They are simple to use and effective for getting kids moving and eating well. Healthy Start offers specific tools and resources to inspire early years practitioners, as well as parents and caregivers. You will be amazed by the wealth of activities that only take minutes to prepare and do not require expensive materials! Visit our Toolkit section! We wish to thank our webmaster, Kevin Pryce, for his continued support in refreshing our look!

Healthy Start visits Pelican Narrows, Deschambault Lake, and Sandy Bay

In May, one of our Implementation Coordinator, Erica Stevenson, traveled to Pelican Narrows and Deschambault Lake (over 1300 KM round trip in the span of 5 days) for booster sessions (follow up visits a few months following the initial HSDS Training).  On her first impression of these communities, Erica note: “The first thing that really stands out to me is how remote these communities are and how many people are in these communities.  I was surprised to learn that there is over 1900 people in Pelican Narrows, over 690 people in Sandy Bay and over 1000 people in Deschambault Lake.” (Statistics Canada 2016) During her trip, our Implementation Coordinator met with child care directors/coordinators, educators, parents, and health professionals in Pelican Narrows, Deschambault Lake, and Sandy Bay. She also observed some challenges regarding healthy eating, namely, the very little variety of healthy foods in the stores for such a big population. Most of the food is packaged items that is ready to eat and will last on a shelf for weeks to months. Fresh food is brought in weekly by truck and cost is higher for foods with shorter shelf life. She adds “One of the stores I viewed had only 8 jugs of milk in the cooler which had me thinking that they don’t sell many or they only buy a certain amount per week.  I had family advise me to bring all my own food from the city to save on costs.”  She also noted that growing gardens in the ground is impossible due to the rocky terrain as well as too much silica which is not ideal for growing food. On the other hand, these communities had also found their own ways to overcome these challenges. Consequently, because nature surrounds them, it continues to be a part of their daily life, including hunting, fishing, trapping and foraging plants and berries. In addition, there was an interest in learning how to garden in each of the communities.  So, during her visit, Erica created an opportunity for the children, their families and the community professionals to come learn and share their experience with one another. In Pelican Narrows, the gardening took place in raised planter containers provided by the Health Centre in their community garden and in Deschambault Lake, they planted bean and sunflower seeds in individual cups for children and their families to take home as well as a spinach garden for the centre. Finally, discussions have started in Sandy Bay to potentially have HSDS back in May 2019 for a community workshop and possibly lend a helping hand to community members to plan a community garden. Regarding physical activity, Erica adds: “The children in Sandy Bay were very excited and had so much energy.  We did a variety of activities indoors and eventually had to get outside on a cool spring day to release even more energy.  The staff and parents that attended were really great and engaged with the children in many active games.” While reflecting on her time in Northern Saskatchewan, Erica notes: “My favorite part of the trip was to see families cautious around the soil transition to become more familiar as they learned more about the process. The children and their families cautiously touch the soil at first, carefully selected their seeds and safely cover them with soil. After a few minutes, most of the children really enjoyed touching the soil.” She ends with: “I hope that these communities keep planting seeds and trying the foods they grow. To me, it is a rewarding feeling to eat something you cared for and starting from a tiny seed.  It is more rewarding to share that knowledge and experience with others.”

HSDS: Setting The Stage For April 1st 2020

On September 26, 2018, the roundtable Sustaining Healthy Start – Beyond 2020 was held at La Cité universitaire francophone in Regina. This important knowledge sharing forum, organised by the Réseau Santé en français de la Saskatchewan (RSFS), addressed the impact of the Healthy Start/Départ santé (HSDS) initiative and its future. The participants at the roundtable were unanimous on the relevance of the program. The question was not “if” it should continue beyond 2020 , but “how” to sustain it in the long term. On March 31, 2020, the HSDS program will reach an important milestone. Fourteen years after its inception, in 2006, HSDS’s Phase 3 will be completed. The project will adopt a delivery model that ensures its long-term viability. To explore various options and venues of action, 35 partners and stakeholders participated at the roundtable in Regina. Seven participants from New Brunswick and a public health nutritionist from La Ronge, in Northern Saskatchewan, joined the proceedings by videoconference. The program’s sustainability is closely linked to having policies in place and access to adequate funding. To achieve this, some efforts will have to be invested in connecting with elected people who have influence on policies and budgets. One of the key messages in this regard will be to educate the policymakers about the benefits of prevention vs. the cost of treating health problems. Work must start now to identify funding sources and secure a financial model that will allow this initiative to continue. To initiate the discussions, a document was prepared to present a comprehensive overview of the project current status as well as a proposed course of action: HSDS White Paper: Preliminary Healthy Start Scale-up Proposal. About HSDS HSDS is a program meant to increase opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating in children attending licensed childcare centers and prekindergarten programs in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. HSDS provides direct support to directors, educators and cooks with resources, training sessions and ongoing support to enrich the environment and increase the opportunities for children to be active and eat healthy. A value-added component of HSDS’s program is its cultural adaptation for immigrants and First Nations as well as its availability in Canada’s both official languages. What has been learned through the years One of the key components HSDS is its ongoing evaluation by academic partners. Their findings offer a roadmap for developing guidelines for the benefit of early year centres and parents of young children. Dr. Anne Leis, from Department of Community Health & Epidemiology at the College of Medicine of University of Saskatchewan, presented a report at the roundtable that highlighted various positive impacts of the project in phase 2 (2013-2017). Among those it is worth noting that children enrolled in Early Years Centres who participated in HSDS displayed improvement in locomotor skills. Her report also identified many challenges in implementing the program, many of them linked to the limited engagement from parents and childcare workers due to lack of time or high level of staff turnover. There is also the issue surrounding the fact that changes brought by the training rarely transformed into formal written policies at the child care centre level. Delivery options Three delivery options for the future were discussed at the roundtable: Community based implementation through a provincial NGO; Integration in the provinces’ Early Childhood curriculum delivered by licensed colleges; National Web site – online training. HSDS White Paper offers details on each option and some costs estimates. All proposed scenarios could be delivered  independently, but participants agreed that the most efficient approach would be a multi-pronged approach delivery of all the three options. From the start, the program has been managed by the RSFS, even though this kind of project is beyond the scope of its mandate. There are community organizations, in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, whose mandate is linked to the goals of HSDS and discussions are already under way to identify which ones would be willing and able to play a leadership role for the long term delivery of HSDS. HSDS and RSFS have 18 months to take into consideration the numerous recommendations action items proposed by its key partners at this very productive roundtable. To consult the various documents presented and watch the Zoom recording of the day, please visit the Roundtable Web Page.  <      

HSDS Round Table in Regina

Sustaining Healthy Start – Beyond 2020 is an important knowledge sharing forum about the impact of the Healthy Start/Départ santé initiative and its future. It will offer a creative and synergistic experience for  partners, supporters and connectors in the health and early years networks. We hope to engage as many knowledge mobilisers as possible! When: September 26, 2018 – 9:00 am to 2:30 pm Where: U of R – Language Institute, Room 215 3737 Wascana Parkway Regina Visit the event’s page for more details.

Healthy Eating and Goal Setting highlighted in the latest HSDS Booster Sessions

Last June, Healthy Start held two Booster sessions, one in Saskatoon, on June 26, where we had 18 participants from child care homes, and another one in Consul, on June 28, where we had 4 participants from Reno Rascals Early Learning & Childcare. In Saskatoon, the HSDS Implementation Coordinator for the region, Rebecca Klapwyk, facilitated a very interesting booster session where the participants talked about their challenges and successes around meal times. Together they brainstormed solutions for picky, slow, and sleepy eaters. They heard from caregivers about their experiences trying new vegetables that “they never thought children would like” with amazing success. One center even has children who love broccoli and now provide it weekly. Other centers have added more pulses to the menu. The group also had the opportunity to view the project approach in action with healthy eating. They had two invitations tables set up, one to explore the questions “Where does Spinach come from?” with a gardening experience complete with seeds, magnifying glasses, tools, and soil.  The other table explored the questions “How could we eat it?”  with a spinach salad recipe set up. In Consul, the participants had the chance to sit and exchange with our Implementation Coordinator for the South, Nicole Pulvermacher. Together, they discussed the center’s successes, challenges, and opportunities with implementing Healthy Start. In the end, the center had 3 concrete goals and 4 actions to help move them towards achieving those goals. Thank you all of the participants for attending Booster sessions and taking the steps to implement Healthy Start in your centers!

Train the Trainer 2018

Why? To become at Healthy Start Community Trainer. Healthy Start promotes healthy eating and physical activity in early years settings by providing training for early learning and childcare practitioners. If you are interested in learning how to facilitate these trainings, attend this event and become a Healthy Start Community Trainer!   What? A training that will provide you will all the tools you need to facilitate a Healthy Start training in early years settings. What We Provide: The training Healthy Start resources, Breakfast and lunch on both days Healthy Start will offer a bursary upon request and demonstration of need* Your Commitment: Attend the training Facilitate two trainings in your region by March 31, 2020   Who? Early years facilitators, educators or coordinators (ECE background) Recreation or health promotion facilitators (nutrition or kinesiology) Public Health Nutritionists or other health region personnel Individuals who have experience with public speaking and in adult training   When? September 28 and 29th, 2018 Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm Saturday 9:00am – 3:00pm   Where? Regina, SK Rotunda (room 216), Language Institute Building, University of Regina (3737 Wascana Parkway), Regina.   How? Click here to fill out the application form.   *To claim your bursary: Keep receipts for transportation, accommodation and supper meal. Fill out an expense claim form and attach receipts. Receive your cheque in the mail.  

Healthy Start held a Parent and Tot Yoga Session in Saskatoon

The Association des parents fransaskois (Fransaskois Parent Association) recently welcomed families in their resources centre (CAFÉ La Passerelle) during a parent and tot yoga session hosted by Healthy Start/Départ Santé (HSDS) in Saskatoon. As we all know, there are physical benefits to yoga.  Family yoga also encourages the emotional relationship between the child and parent.  It furthermore allows families to move with ease, comfort, competence and confidence in a fun and easy going environment.  These are some aspects of physical literacy that prove we all have the ability to develop confidence and competence to move and be active in different ways.  Physical literacy is a life long journey!

The Saskatchewanderer visits La Petite jungle centre in Vonda!

The early years center La Petite jungle collaborated greatly with the HSDS team during their Healthy Start Booster that occurred on April 5th, 2018.  They had accepted to be part of a video shoot hosted by Saskatchewanderer in the goal to showcase the center’s Healthy Start moments during the « Framework for Recreation in Canada Forum 2018 ».  The children and educators enjoyed eating their healthy snacks in a family style meal setting as well as playing LEATM HOP games, dancing and singing and playing parachute games outside!  Big thanks to La Petite jungle!

Interview with Béatrice Mbazumutima, Director of Centre Éducatif Félix le Chat

What is your experience with Healthy Start? It was a wonderful experience. The staff of the childcare centre are always supported by the Healthy Start team. They know that the team is available to provide more information when needed. The program has offers a variety of ideas and resources available to themfor the childcare staff. It has been helpful to receive new ideas for both indoor and outdoor physical activity. Recently, the center has received a bBooster session (Healthy Start site visit) to make sure that all the new staff is trained and to practice what they have learned at their workshop. Educators are therefore now more able to teach children about healthy eating and physical activity.provide guidance for children about nutrition and physical activity.   What are the successes of Healthy Start? The training sessions the staff received were beneficial. They raised consciousnessbecame more aware of certain  on certain subjects. Staff efforts are now Efforts are more focused on the importance of moving more and the concepts of the Division of Responsibility in providing meals in the centre. It is easier to increase and support children’s interests aroundbout physical activity. We They saw a difference in the children’s concentration and attention skills. As time and variety of physical activity increased, the children were quieter, less irritated and more alert. Healthy Start offers a multitude of alternatives for young children to stay in motionbe active. As a result, the level of activity of educators has also increased. Taking the time to exchange share ideas between amongst staff educators has also been as beneficial. Several sharing of ideas proved to be very interesting.   Have you experienced any challenges? Physical activities during the winter can be more complex. On the other hand, playing outside or in school hallways the installation of the external games inside the building has generated high interest form from the kids. Sometimes exposure toacceptance of a new food can take a long time. Some children may refuse to try a new healthy meal the first few times of it being offered. The Ellyn Satter “Division of Responsibility” was the most difficult concept to implement.   Have parents been influenced by Healthy Start? The parent handbook contains some Healthy Start concepts. The parents are also very busy, but they are often invited to participate in the educational sessions organized by the center.

Report from a Nutritional Intern in Saskatchewan

Véronique Dion-Cyr, who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition at the University of Ottawa, has completed a three-month internship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Départ Santé/Healthy Start (DSHS) and Réseau Santé en Français de la Saskatchewan (RSFS) intern carried out a variety of projects in the community. With the help of valuable collaborators, several events were held, mainly in Saskatoon and Regina. It was good to have someone in a community health internship who was able to communicate in both languages. From the time she arrived, Veronique had many requests to work with various organizations, in the minority Francophone community, in particular, where there are plenty of opportunities,  She interviewed directors and educators and wrote educational articles on nutrition. Working with the Association des parents fransaskois (APF), she organized educational cooking workshops for families under the Healthy Together program, a health education program for parents. A partnership with École canadienne-française de Saskatoon enabled students to attend workshops and presentations about nutrition, organized by the intern. She made presentations at the Journée d’accueil du nouvel arrivant and the Journéé du mieux-être, as well as doing an interview with ICI Saskatchewan. Students were also able to learn more about how to become a dietitian through Véronique’s career day presentations. One distinctive feature, in terms of nutrition, is certainly the lack of food variety in Saskatchewan. Selection is limited for certain foods, such as some fruits and vegetables, fish, and seafood. Also, there are not a lot of food stores. This is the reality for people living in this province. Any organization working in the health field must be aware of this situation. However, the future dietitian is impressed that children are conscious of the importance of healthy eating. Younger generations are increasingly aware of nutrition. In addition to the valuable assistance of the CNFS, Véronique was well supported and guided by her supervisors, Gabrielle Lepage-Lavoie, program manager, and Tracy Sentes, dietitian. The experience exceeded her expectations and she recommends that anyone looking for a new and positive experience consider this internship! She will long remember her time in the province for the warm Fransaskois welcome and the bright blue sky.

Kids’s Choice Recipe Contest

In collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, Healthy Start is organizing a recipe selection aimed at creating an electronic menu management application (app) for child care centers in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Each recipe gives you one chance to win a fabulous price (draw will be on June 15) ! Send your recipes to [email protected] from now until June 8, 2018.

New Healthy Start Promotional Videos

We are very proud to present the new Healthy Start promotional videos – showcasing healthy eating and physical activity! Take a quick look below or click here to go to our video section. You can also visit our YouTube channel by clicking here.



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