For many children, academic difficulties begin before they start school. In a national survey, teachers reported that 35 percent of kindergarten children were not ready for school. Poor academic skills in the early years place children at risk, often leading to grade retention, school failure and dropout, delinquency and running away, as well as unemployment and underemployment in adulthood.
Cooking with parents is one educational activity that can help to increase children's abilities in math, science, reading, language, motor development and social skills in a meaningful and appealing way.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Little Books and Little Cooks Program, which began in 2012, offers Nevada's Clark, Washoe, and Lincoln County preschool children and their parents the chance to cook and read stories together. Extension provides the books, recipes, and cooking instructions.
In 2017, six new books and recipes were added, and the curriculum was also used in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania communities. In addition, a seven-week series was delivered 61 times state-wide totaling 424 two-hour workshops, reaching families at at-risk elementary schools, libraries, and Head Start sites. Participants included 477 families in Nevada’s Clark and Lincoln Counties, and 165 parents and 172 children in Washoe County.
Also in 2017, the program offered community activities at 58 events throughout Nevada to promote children's healthy eating and physical activity. Program faculty delivered information sheets, handouts, promotional displays, posters, and newsletters in English and Spanish, reaching nearly 4,000 people.
NIFA supports the Smith-Lever Act. Read the full article at the Land-Grant Impacts Database.
Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.