Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
Young children in the United States spend a considerable amount of time in preschool settings. Preschool teachers have an opportunity to incorporate nutrition and physical activity into their interactions with these children in order to positively influence the health of the children. This qualitative, case study explored how teachers at a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool integrate nutrition and physical activity into their teaching. The research questions that guided this study included, “In what ways do preschool teachers in a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool in the Midwest incorporate nutrition and physical activity in their classrooms?” and “What influences if and how these preschool teachers specifically teach about these fundamental health aspects?” Data collected through interviews and focus groups were organized into categories, both organizational and substantive, and they were supported by a document analysis. Once the substantive categories were determined, category zooming was used to focus on one aspect that surfaced from the data in order to create themes. Specifically, among other strategies, the teachers in this study use introduction, reinforcement, and encouragement to engage children in nutrition and physical activity. Overall, the teachers expressed that they care about the children’s health and that this is the driving force for incorporating nutrition and physical activity into their interactions with the children in their care.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.