Free training classes offered for Bexar County-area childcare personnel

SAN ANTONIO — The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Department of Agriculture will co-sponsor free nutrition classes from now through the summer for childcare contractors involved in the state’s feeding program, said class coordinators.

Free training classes for childcare professionals using the Texas Department of Agriculture's Child and Adult Care Feeding Program are being held at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office in Bexar County. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

This new group of classes — offered now through the summer — provides support and training to individuals at childcare centers participating in the agriculture department’s Child and Adult Care Feeding Program.

“These classes are for professionals and paraprofessionals working at or in conjunction with these feeding program centers,” said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Bexar County and area coordinator. “Classes address the three E’s of healthy eating – education, exercise and eating right – as identified by the TDA and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.”

Sheppard said classes allow participants to stay in compliance and within budget, earn clock hours toward licensing, learn more about creditable foods and beverages, create meal and snack menus, receive up-to-date meal pattern requirements, complete food-production records and obtain resources.

“The classes also allow participants to get answers to questions they may have about CACFP, along with sharing best practices and improving their job skills,” she said.

Classes and parking are both free, she said. Classes will be held in Suite 208 of the offices AgriLife Extension in Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr. in the Conroy Square office complex, located on the city’s northwest side. Some classes also offer professional credits for participants.

Class times, dates and descriptions are:

– Kitchen Math, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on April 20 and July 13. Participants will learn important information and skills to help them purchase the correct amount of food for the number of children at their center.

– Menu Planning for Child Care, 8:30 a.m. – noon on May 14 and Aug. 9. Class participants will receive tools and recommendations for planning child care, plus food program-reimbursable  menus featuring nutritious and economical foods.

– Planning Nutritious Snacks, 1- 4:30 p.m. on May 14 and Aug 9. This class emphasizes a team approach to meeting the nutritional needs of the children participating in the facility, including developing new nutritional snack menus that meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture  meal-pattern requirements and TDA recommendations.

– Feeding Infants, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on June 6 and Aug. 10. Feeding Infants is a basic course that covers nutritious meal planning to meet the feed plan infant meal pattern requirements.

Class participants are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch, plus there are several restaurants within driving distance, Sheppard said.

For more information on feeding program classes, go to http://www.SquareMeals.org/Training. To register for any of these classes, go to the TDA Learning Management System website,  http://lms.tda.state.tx.us/stc/training. For questions about website registration, email FNDTrainingUnit@TexasAgriculture.gov or call the TDA office at 512-475-0586.

Class seating is limited, so there may not be room for walk-in participants, Sheppard said, so it is important to register at the website. Walk-ins must have their feeding program contract number.

“Classes are also offered for CACFP contractors in the other areas of the state by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service,” Sheppard added. “Check the Learning Management System website for details about these classes.”

For more information on the classes offered in San Antonio, contact Sheppard at 210-467-6575 or c-sheppard@tamu.edu.

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