Farm to Child Care Provider Interview
with Stacy Boysen
By Cassaundra Lewis - February 20th, 2017
Stacy owns and runs her own Family Child Care Program with her husband. As a provider and a trainer, she has incorporated many aspects of Farm to Child Care over the years. I reached out to Stacy and asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing her journey, about her experiences of implementing Farm to Child Care into her own childcare.
“How has the Farm to Child Care training made a difference?”
“It really opened my eyes to other possibilities, and important things other than worksheets and counting; you know, the academic learning through traditional ways. It’s about the outside activities that bring things together, it helps children understand nutrition and the importance of taking care of things not only at the child care but at home also.”
“How have the kids responded to the changes?”
“I found that it was calming for them. The active, getting into the garden aspect, getting their hands and fingers into the dirt. We could really see the behavioral challenges decrease because they had a task, something meaningful to attend too. They were really focused on the task. Whether it was planting, weeding, watering or harvesting."
“How was the response from the parents?”
“Well, with the childcare shortage, it’s more of a mentality of being simply safe and affordable. They are in survival mode in the child care world. We have a newsletter that gets sent out to parents, it includes garden activities and just being able to communicate with the parents about what their children learn and do during the day."
“Do you have any success stories or anecdotes? Anything amusing?”
“It took me years! But last year was the first time they actually stood in the garden and ate from the plants. They planted the peas, picked the peas and shucked the peas before. So, this year, they ate all the peas before they left the garden, I am really excited because this group of kids likes peas!”
“Any activities that the kids really enjoyed, or you had a huge change of behavior after the activity?”
“It’s all about the actual hands-on activities that have meaning behind them. It’s the importance of taking care of something. It’s actually really calming for them. They simply like being outdoors, and we saw it this winter, they were bouncing off the walls, they wanted to be outside. But, tending to something that they themselves plants and watched that little seed grow, that’s what really excited them.”
“Have you had any challenges introducing Farm to Child Care?”
“Space issue. I can’t start seeds indoors because I don’t have the space to do it. Otherwise, it’s about parent engagement.”
“What could be helpful to overcome this?”
“ Parents might just need some additional resources, articles directly towards parents, something to transition to healthy eating.”
“Is there anything you would like help with?”
“Parent resources. And tips for picky eaters!”
“Are there any tips you could give a new provider of F2CC?”
“Start small. Don’t get overwhelmed. Whichever the provider’s aim is, whether it’s: nutrition, natural outdoor activities, gardening, wanting to try CSA’s or farmers markets’ start with one or three things. Too often, provider’s jump in with both feet, and they get themselves overwhelmed and stuck in quicksand, and they don’t want to keep going anymore.
Stacy is a wonderful provider and trainer, she had training back in April at her center that reached 11 new providers. This year, she started talking with other providers in a Facebook group for ‘child care providers' about gardening. One day, someone asked who was going to start gardening and where they could get their hands on information and resources. She said,”Hey! I train Farm to Child Care, and it includes a lot of activities for gardening in it!” So, almost in one fell swoop, a class was full!
If you would like more information about Farm to Child Care, swing on over to the Farm to Child Care resource page.