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Celebrity chef Jenny Bristow to give healthy eating tips at free childminders conference

Multi-element event to take place in Armagh City Hotel on Saturday

Childminders from across Northern Ireland are being invited to attend the free Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA) Annual Conference in the Armagh City Hotel this Saturday, September 29.

This year’s theme is ‘Big Cook, Little Cook: Healthy Active Lifestyles’ and celebrity chef Jenny Bristow has been unveiled as one of the star attractions.

The conference will provide an opportunity for childminders to find out more about speech and language development, nutrition for childhood development, cyber safety and outdoor play.

PHA are delighted to be working in partnership with NICMA to encourage and support childminders in providing healthy and nutritious food to the children in their care.

NICMA CEO, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney CBE, said: “The theme of this year’s conference concentrates on healthy eating and tackling obesity. These are real issues for society and one of the most effective ways that we can address them is to increase understanding and awareness of diet.

“Earlier this year, we saw the introduction of the ‘sugar tax’ and yes, that is one measure that will influence consumer behaviour, but there are still a lot of misconceptions around the types of foods that are good for us to eat.

“As childminders interact with children and young people on a daily basis it is really important to equip them with the right information about healthy eating so they can prepare nutritional food for children in their care. Understanding how to create a balanced diet is critical to a child’s development and will support the goal of tackling obesity.”

The Big Cook, Little Cook Conference, which is financially supported by NICMA, The Public Health Agency and the Health & Social Care Board opens with a talk from the Public Health Agency. This will enable the sharing of best practice.

From 10.30am to 11.30am, and from 12 noon to 1.00pm, delegates will be treated to cookery demonstrations by celebrity chef and author Jenny Bristow. Jenny will show how simple ingredients can be combined to create tasty nutritional meals and snacks.

Jenny adds: “Very often meal times can become a pressurised environment. When you are rushing to make something quickly so that you can make the next school pick-up or trying to feed a child before they go to an activity, time is of the essence.

“During the demonstration I’ll be showing delegates how they can integrate healthy eating into their daily routine. Using simple ingredients, you can make quick, nutritional meals or snacks that are filling, tasty and cost effective.”

In the afternoon, a series of workshops will be held exploring various child development related issues. Workshop places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

To register your attendance at the Big Cook, Little Cook Conference, please visit and complete an on-line booking form and return to NICMA.

The conference programme presents an action-packed day of speaker presentations and workshops.

Morning Session

9.15am – 10.00am          Registration

10.00am – 10.15am        Welcome and Official Opening

10.15am – 10.30am        Keynote Address – Public Health Agency

10.30am – 11.30am        Cookery Demonstration – Jenny Bristow

11.30am – 12.00pm       View Information Stands

12.00pm – 1.00pm         Cookery Demonstration – Jenny Bristow

1.00pm – 2.15pm            Lunch

2.15pm – 3.45pm            Workshops

Afternoon Session

Workshop: Let’s Get Talking

At this workshop delegates will have a better understanding of:

  • speech and language difficulties
  • the prevalence and incidence of developmental speech and language difficulties
  • the impact of speech and language difficulties
  • key messages for encouraging speech and language development
  • where to go to for more information

Workshop: Importance of Good Nutrition for Childhood Development

Healthy eating and physical activity are essential for growth and development in childhood. This workshop will focus on the following topics:

  • Eat well guide
  • Portion sizes
  • Drinks and snacks

Workshop: Cyber Safety for Parents and Carers

Protecting children in the online world can seem daunting. It is a fast paced, ever changing environment, how are we meant to keep up with the risks that today’s children are exposed to? Should we discourage children from the online world? How do we protect the children in our care? And is it all bad news? At this workshop we will guide you through these questions.

Workshop: Outdoor Play

This interactive workshop will explore methods for engaging children in play activities. Participants will gain a better understanding of the need for play, to be creative and inclusive when planning, designing and implementing play spaces.

  • Importance of play
  • The play space
  • Resources and activities
  • Managing risk in play

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