Stafford Trojans

Stafford, Kansas- Julie Richardson's three-year-old preschool classroom at the Stafford Early Learning Center was recently awarded $5,000 of grant funding by the South Central Community Foundation to support overall health and nutrition within the classroom. The mission of Ms. Julie's classroom project, Growing Healthy Habits from the Ground Up, is to help young children learn about nutrition, healthy choices, physical activity, and how to plant and grow foods.  They will learn how healthy choices can impact energy levels and their overall health.  The project will also provide students the opportunity to taste and try a wide variety of foods that are packed with nutritional value.  In addition, students will be given a nutritious snack each day school is in session for the remainder of the school year.


Stafford USD 349 Superintendent Traci Becker gave the following statement when asked about the potential impact this grant will have on our three-year-old students and families: "We all know family schedules are hectic and grab-and-go convenience food is readily available.  I love that our three-year-old program has the opportunity to slow things down a bit and provide healthy snacks and food choices for our students.  This will help our students learn the value of healthy snacking and if we can get them thinking about what they eat, we will be able to help them make positive changes."


This project will go hand in hand with some of Ms. Julie’s classroom curriculum about how things grow as well as what children can do to leave a positive impact on our community.  It will also give the students the opportunity to expand their vocabulary, learn more about community resources, and potentially build a partnership with community groups and businesses. Incorporating nutrition and health vocabulary into the classroom through hands-on manipulatives and health-focused literacy will give the students additional ways to learn the content without realizing they are learning.  This project provides ample opportunities for volunteers.  This could include prepping foods for snacks, teaching students about plant and crop growth in Kansas, reading nutrition-rich literature to the students, assembling physical fitness equipment as well as many other opportunities that will present themselves as the program evolves.  If you are interested in being a part of Growing Healthy Habits from the Ground Up, please contact Ms. Julie via email at or by telephone at 620-234-5255


"In our classroom, we are seeing firsthand the urgent need to help educate children and families on the importance of healthy choices. We believe starting this education at age three will have a significant impact on our students and families.  Research shows that establishing a solid health and nutritional foundation increases the likelihood of children to continue making healthy choices as they mature and grow while helping to decrease the number of health and nutritional doctor visits.   We believe this will have a significant impact on our students' health and wellness as well as the family and community members connected with the students. We look forward to sharing more information with you as our project progresses." Julie Richardson.