Home Child Care Provider
Twenty-one years ago, Jennifer Stewart decided to open an informal home child care for her daughter, neighbors, and playmates. Even after her own children were grown, she still wanted to continue her child care home, but at a different level. In 2009, wanting more support from the state and to be able to apply for funding grants, Jennifer became a licensed operator. Then in 2015, joined the CACFP.
“I was always serving typical toddler food and wanted support to help think outside of the box. The CACFP has taught me how to create nutritious meals for kids.”
Jennifer has changed her philosophy about nutrition. The children’s goal is to incorporate many colors of food on their plates and they now shop with Jennifer to pick out healthy foods. At the home, they help choose menu items. Everyone has a "try me bite" and Jennifer emphasizes all of the good things healthy foods do for their growing bodies. Parents are excited because not only are their children eating healthier at child care, they are also tasting new foods and choosing to eat healthier at home.
Nutrition adds a healthy component to the already active lifestyle the children lead at Jennifer’s home child care where they are outside as much as possible walking to storytime, the firehouse and programs in the park. They take swimming lessons in the summer and go on scavenger hunts around town, often stopping to check out construction trucks and town happenings.
Jennifer emphasizes this is the children’s home away from home. On a daily basis, she enjoys the innocence and love that children share and takes pride in knowing that parents can leave children with her without worry because they are receiving the best care. Jennifer wants to take part in all of the little milestones along the way and hopes she can make a memorable difference in their lives.
From Sherburne, N.Y., Jennifer has been a CACFP participant through Opportunities for Chenango since 2015.