Nutrition, Health, and Safety for the Young Child

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 108

       Course Name: Nutrition, Health, and Safety for the Young Child

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides overview of early childhood practices that ensure children’s physical and emotional well-being. Content includes basic health, safety and nutritional needs of children and methods to effectively meet these needs in early childhood settings.

IV.   Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, students who satisfactorily complete all work will be able to:

A.    Demonstrate basic knowledge of licensing requirements for childcare settings as they relate to health and safety of children.
B.    Demonstrate the ability to follow essential safety guidelines for the supervision of children as well as the selection, arrangement and maintenance of indoor and playground equipment.
C.    Identify and describe basic first-aid procedures, the proper use of first-aid items, record keeping and communication with the child's parents.
D.    Describe symptoms which might indicate abuse and neglect in physical appearance and behavior of children and demonstrate knowledge of sources for emergency assistance.
E.    Demonstrate a basic understanding of the childcare worker's legal obligations in regards to health nutrition and safety issues.

A.    Identify and describe necessary screening procedures which are used in group home care settings to assess a child's health status.
B.    Describe signs and symptoms of common acute illnesses and clearly describe procedures to be followed when a child becomes ill in group home care settings.
C.    Name chronic conditions that can affect a child's health and describe the care providers responsibilities in dealing with chronic health problems.
D.    Demonstrate the ability to identify signs and symptoms of common communicable diseases and describe control measures childcare facilities have to use in attempts at reducing the spreading of such diseases.
E.    Provide an environment which supports positive emotional health in young children.

A.    Identify principal sources and primary functions of nutrients essential for healthy growth and development from infancy up to adolescence.
B.    Describe symptoms and discuss possible causes of common nutritional disorders in growing children and compare these symptoms to physical and behavioral characteristics of a well-nourished child.
C.    Be able to plan and provide wide variety of snacks and meals which best meet nutritional requirements for children at specific developmental levels.
D.    Demonstrate the ability to make food preparation and mealtime a developmentally appropriate learning experience for children in group/home care settings.
E.    Implement nutrition education as an ongoing part of the developmentally appropriate curriculum.

In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the Early Childhood Content Standards as put forth by the Illinois State Board of Education.


STANDARD 1 – Content Knowledge
The competent teacher understands the central concepts, methods of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines and creates learning experiences t hat make the content meaningful to all students.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
1A.  understands major concepts, assumptions, debates, principles, and theories that are central to the discipline(s) in which certification is sought.
1B.  understands the processes of inquiry central to the discipline.
1C.  understands how students’ conceptual frameworks and their misconceptions for an area of knowledge can influence their learning.
1D.  understands the relationship of knowledge within the discipline to other content areas and to life and career applications.

STANDARD 2 – Human Development and Learning
The competent teacher understands how individuals grow, develop, and learn and provides learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher
2B.  understands that students’ physical, social, emotional, ethical, and cognitive development influences learning.


STANDARD 6 – Curriculum:  Physical Development and Health
The competent early childhood teacher understands the comprehensive nature of the physical, emotional, and social well-being of children from birth through grade three; understands the role of human movement and physical activity as elements central to active, healthy life styles; and promotes the abilities of children from birth through grade three as they develop and practice skills that contribute to good health and enhance quality of life.

Knowledge indicators:  The competent early childhood teacher
6A.  understands ways in which physical, social, and emotional well-being of children enhances enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.
6B.  understands basic principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and community health and safety, including the prevention and treatment of illness and injury.
6C.  understands human body systems and interrelationships between fitness and body systems.
6E.  understands the relationship between resolution of conflicts and health and well-being.
Performance indicators:  The competent early childhood teacher
6G.  applies basic principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and community health and safety, including the prevention and treatment of illness and injury.

STANDARD 11 – Learning environment
The competent early childhood teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior was well as of children’s developmental levels and needs to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, intrinsic motivation, and self-esteem.

Knowledge indicators:  The competent early childhood teacher
11D.  understands how to design and maintain physically and psychologically safe, healthy, and productive learning environments.

STANDARD 17 – Professional Conduct and Leadership
The competent early childhood teacher understands education as a profession, maintains standards of professional conduct, and provides leadership to improve children’s learning and well-being.

Performance indicators:  The competent early childhood teacher
17K.  recognize signs of emotional distress, child abuse, and neglect in young children and understands the responsibility and procedures for reporting known or suspected abuse or neglect to appropriate authorities.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Section I  Introduction to Nutrition
            1.    Food as an issue.
            -Psycho-social aspects of food
            2.    Meaning of food to people
            -Eating habits
            -How habits are learned
            -What effects eating habits have on the individual
            -How to establish good habits
           3.    Composition of food           
            Nutrition - Function
                      Results of deficiencies
           4.    Digestion
            Utilization of food in the body

Section II  Food and Young Children
           1.    Nutritional requirements
               Considerations for meal planning
           2.    Menu planning
            Federal guidelines
           3.    Nutritional supplement planning
           4.    Atmosphere and expectation of food programs for children
            Teacher's role
            Children's role
            Cook's role
           5.    Cooking with children
           6.    Nutrition education
            Curriculum guide for teachers

VII.  Methods of Instruction

This course will be conducted in a lecture/discussion format.  Films, video-tapes, and guest speakers will also be utilized.  Students will be expected to take part in class presentations of assigned material.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

A.    Reading, Writing at college level.
B.    Participation in class discussions.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Varies by instructor.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Objective examinations.

XI.   Other Course Information

A.    Attendance is mandatory.
B.    Plagiarism/cheating policies are covered under the Academic Dishonesty section of the current catalog.
C.    Instructor will provide each class with further information as to policies and support systems.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at