Tips for Training Staff on Eating Smart • Being Active

State Level Face-to-Face Training Tips

  • Role play teaching the lessons – program leader/supervisor teaches the lesson to educators in a role play scenario where the program leader/supervisor is the educator and the educators are the participants. We recommend teaching the lesson in entirety (including the physical activity and food activity using one recipe) so that your educators experience the lesson from their participants’ perspective.  A word of caution – teach the lesson well.  Your educators will teach it the way they see you teach it.  When training our staff, we find that an 8 hour training day accommodates 2 lessons with debriefing and questions.
  • Leading food preparation activities – the 2017 revision of Eating Smart • Being Active includes an increased emphasis on teaching cooking skills; every lesson includes a food preparation activity where participants are actively engaged in preparing the recipe.  Including food preparation in every lesson will take time and resources but should result in increased behavior change related preparing food in the home.  Because of this increased emphasis on teaching cooking skills, we encourage program leadership to consider the following:
    • Purchasing food preparation equipment – see Food Preparation Kit
    • Budgeting money for food activities
    • Lesson length may be longer
    • Staff training on food preparation – we encourage program leaders to train staff on food safety and food resource management in the classroom; safely using and transporting knives; planning, shopping, and packing for food activities; and, appropriate clothing and accessories for facilitating a food preparation.
  • Food safety during food preparation – educators may already be trained on the basic concepts of food safety.  We encourage program leadership to teach educators how to apply those concepts when planning, shopping, and packing for and teaching food preparation activities.  Topics to include: proper storage of foods while at the office and transporting foods (keeping perishable foods in a cooler with blue ice packs until ready to use in class); personal hygiene for the educator and participants (pulling long hair back, hand washing, what to do with cuts on hands); first aid (what to do if someone cuts themselves or has a cut on their hand/fingers); cleaning surfaces; keeping raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods; and, keeping knives safely stored until ready to use.  Come back soon for a PowerPoint training module on food preparation that you can use with your staff posted to this website.
  • Distribute and review materials – for programs that haven’t used previous versions of Eating Smart • Being Active, it will be essential to review what the materials are, how do you use them, when do you use them, etc.  This includes reviewing what the differences are between the handouts and worksheets, what the lesson enhancements are and when to distribute them, what the aprons are for, what to do with participant folders, and why the visuals are an integral part of the lesson.
  • Physical Activity – several resources are available on this website to help you train your staff on physical activity.  We recommend that you start with the introductory videos (this could be done by webinar before your face-to-face training) which explain why it’s appropriate to include physical activity in a nutrition education curriculum and tips and tricks for successfully leading the physical activity segments.  Next, we recommend that regionally or locally, you have your supervisors work with educators to learn the activities in both the instructional and lesson videos.  Educators should then be given “homework” to practice the physical activities with the videos and then practice teaching the physical activities without the videos using only the visuals to guide them. Doing the physical activity training ahead of any state level face-to-face training, will help save time during face-to-face training, and allow educators to learn and become confident in one of the biggest revisions to the curriculum.
  • Collecting evaluation data – if your educators collect pre and post participant data, there are some differences in the revised version of Eating Smart • Being Active.  This training could be done face-to-face, via webinar, or by local or regional supervisors. Train your staff on your evaluation forms and protocols.
  • Distribute and review activity bins – educators will be exposed to the materials in the activity bins during face-to-face training in which program leaders lesson role play each lesson; however, it is important that they feel confident that all of the materials in their activity bins are there.  We recommend bringing activity bins out after the role play of each lesson and having each educator compare that lesson’s activity bin list to what is actually in the activity bin.

Local Training Tips (with Supervisors)

  • Physical activity training videos – several resources are available on this website to help you train your staff on physical activity.  We recommend that you start with the introductory videos (this could be done by webinar before your face-to-face training) which explain why it’s appropriate to include physical activity in a nutrition education curriculum and tips and tricks for successfully leading the physical activity segments.  Next, we recommend that regionally or locally, you have your supervisors work with educators to learn the activities in both the instructional and lesson videos.  Educators should then be given “homework” to practice the physical activities with the videos and then practice teaching the physical activities without the videos using only the visuals to guide them. Doing the physical activity training ahead of any state level face-to-face training, will help save time during face-to-face training, and allow educators to learn and become confident in one of the biggest revisions to the curriculum.
  • Practice teaching/teaching observations – once trained on the lessons, educators should have the opportunity to practice all aspects of teaching the lessons, including practicing with their supervisor so that the supervisor can provide them with feedback and be sure they are teaching the lesson the way it is written.
  • Prepare/practice all recipes – before ever preparing any recipe in class, educators should prepare that recipe and taste it.  Educators will prepare one recipe during the lesson role play at face-to-face training; however, they need the opportunity to prepare and taste the other recipe options for each lesson. This will give them the confidence they need to facilitate the food preparation activities and allows them to become familiar with the recipes.  This can be done efficiently by having supervisors bringing their educators together and preparing several recipes at a time together.
  • For Your Information (FYI) sections via webinar or locally by supervisors – the FYI sections provide a readily accessible reference for your educators to use in class when answering participant questions. They also provide a good training resource for program leaders to use in training educators in the background information supporting lesson content. We recommend teaching the FYI segments after face-to-face training in a follow-up training format (for example, one lesson per week via face-to-face with supervisor or webinar) after educators have read the FYI.  Ideally, educators would be trained in the FYI segments of a lesson before teaching the lesson to participants.

Educator Self-Study

  • Physical activity training videos – educators practice the physical activity segments in each lesson after learning the activities in a formal training with their supervisors.
  • Practice teaching the lessons – after attending face-to-face training and participating in the role play of the lessons, educators practice teaching the lessons with friends, family members, colleagues, and supervisors.
  • Practice packing for lessons – after a formal training with program leaders on planning, shopping, and packing for class, educators practice this step for each lesson.  This works well in conjunction with practicing teaching lessons with the supervisor.