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Nutrition as an Educational Influence TALK: Thursday, 18th August, 7.30pm
Nutrition as an Educational Influence
Talk and Discussion with Astrid Anderson,
suggested koha $5
What has nutrition got to do with learning..?
Today there is a widespread view that good nutrition is a matter of the body’s getting all the nutrients it needs, to be healthy. The nutritional information we read on packages is all to do with quantitative measures of nutrient content. However, when it comes to eating, are we really interested in those data of information?
Perhaps it is more important to us, and especially to children, whether the food tastes good and that we share it with people we like to be with. What we eat, what helps and nurtures us, is so individual. Eating is all about qualities of food. These are very important to us.
If we consider that, for example, in wine-tasting, someone can tell where the wine was grown, how much sun it had and what kind of soil, how it was harvested and whether it was prepared with traditional methods. There are a lot of factors that make a good wine, and people will pay a lot of money for it.! Another example is honey too. The quality of honey as a special food can particularly be appreciated by those who have been involved with natural beekeeping and the experience of the wonderful transformation of the flower fragrances into ‘liquid gold’.
In our education, we look at the 7-year periods and their unique qualities and needs.
Let us look at these in terms of nutrition. This may give us insights into how we can support the children in their particular development at each age. The four elements too are important in cooking. Some people like mainly moist food, some prefer it more crisp, love baked or fried foods. Others like raw food. Some seem to need their food hot and spicy, others want it bland. Many people like sweet treats and dishes, and so forth…
Many of these preferences are to do with temperament and the strength of the metabolic system. Others simply arise out of bad eating habits, which can strongly influence our natural instincts for the food our organism is needing, especially for a particular activity we want or need to do. With a healthy instinct for the food we need, we are able to find a sense of well-being.
What kind of support do children need through nutrition that will help them in their learning?
One of the fundamental aspects of Waldorf education is helping children to be grounded, to be incarnated and able to concentrate. This means that they can be quietly active, cheerful and contented, without getting out of themselves. It is learning without nervous stress. This process is worked upon throughout all the different activities and lessons, but it is most helpful if other factors in their lives support it too. One of these factors is nutrition. Through good, healthy nutrition, children can be greatly helped to be grounded and balanced and to feel nurtured. For this it requires a special attitude towards eating and food which can be cultivated in children through the environment in which eating takes place. There needs to be time for eating and digestion, the atmosphere needs to be peaceful and reverent, and gratitude towards what is provided is very important too. If these qualities are cultivated at a young age, this will make a significant difference to their growing up and their education.
On the other hand, a negative relationship to food and the body can lead to eating disorders and a whole range of digestive and metabolic problems later.
Children today need strengthening, reassuring influences in their lives, and one of these can be given through insightful and supportive nutrition.