Have you ever wondered whether food and learning and health were related? Well the national food education standards for K-12 students has recently placed food and learning, higher order thinking, health and global connections on the school menu.

PilotLight.org released he first-ever nationwide recommendations for food education for K-12 students, the Food Education Standards. At HowtoLearn.com we applaud the authentic connection between food and learning and designing curriculum to help educate kids to make healthier food choices.

food and learningThe Food Education Standards were developed in collaboration with notable Chicago chefs Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality), Matthias Merges (Folk Art Management) and Jason Hammel (Lula Café and Marisol), as well as nutrition and education experts and faculty from the University of Chicago, Columbia University, the United States Department of Agriculture and a teacher development team comprising Chicago Public School faculty.

“Childhood presents a unique opportunity to influence food acceptance and preferences that have the potential to influence health throughout one’s life. Introducing a variety of foods through positive and engaging activities increases the likelihood that children will taste and eat a wider variety of health-promoting foods,” said Alan Shannon, public affairs director for the USDA.

The Food Education Standards were designed to provide detailed guidelines for curriculum development, instruction and assessment of food education in classrooms.Food and learning are finally being paired as essential to a higher order thinking curriculum.

Each Food Education Standard is divided into measurable competencies by grade level bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Within each grade level band, examples of parallel cross-curricular learning standards, including the Common Core Standards, have been identified to assist teachers in lesson development.

Additionally, each Standard provides examples of grade-band appropriate real-world experiences and is tied to a library of sample lesson plans for reference and inspiration.

The seven Food Education Standards are:

  1. Food connects us to each other.
  2. Foods have sources and origins.
  3. Food and the environment are interconnected.
  4. Food behaviors are influenced by external and internal factors.
  5. Food impacts health.
  6. We can make positive and informed food choices.
  7. We can advocate for food choices and changes that impact ourselves, our communities and our world.

“These Standards provide teachers with the tools and resources they need to make food education a priority in their classrooms by integrating it into their existing lessons while demonstrating its connection to everything they do and learn,” said Alex DeSorbo Quinn, Pilot Light executive director.

“No other institution or agency has released a comprehensive recommendation for Food Education in the United States. These Standards lay the groundwork for making food education an integral part of learning for all American children.”

“Every day we make choices about the foods we eat but rarely stop to think what those choices mean,” said Matthias Merges, Pilot Light co-founder and owner of Folk Art Restaurant Management.

“This life skill–often missing from a child’s education–requires us to draw on our understanding of where food comes from, what it represents, and what it says about who we are. We hope that teachers nationwide bring this foundational knowledge to their students to change lives for the better.”

Pilot Light currently serves 17 schools and 2,268 students in underserved communities in Chicago.

Building upon the Food Education Standards, Pilot Light will host their second National Food Education Summit in the spring of 2019. To learn more about the Food Education Standards, visit Pilot Light Food Education Standards.

Pilot Light is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps children make healthier choices by connecting the lessons they learn in their classrooms to the foods they eat on their lunch trays, at home and in their communities. Learn more about Pilot Light at PilotLightChefs.org.

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