Explore the sweet and the savoury with Junior Food Explorers – Sydney’s go-to for early learning nutrition
Nothing complicated, just wholesome and flavourful learning for healthy kids
Hi, I'm Kate Curtis — the creator of the Junior Food Explorers program. I'm a Sydney-based mum of two young boys, a university-qualified nutritionist and food scientist.
I began developing the program not long after the birth of my second child when I was seeing a number of clients wanting to lose weight unrealistically fast and with little regard for overall health. Things needed to change. And what was needed, was a greater focus on prevention.
Delivering incursions hadn't been new consideration. A few years prior, I ran workshops at my eldest son's kindy and found the experience to be wonderfully rewarding, particularly seeing defiant refusal turn into a sneaky bite, and being welcomed back warmly with unexpected hugs and squeals of excitement. With such fond memories it was time to put the need into action; delivering a program specifically designed for preschoolers, conscious of their needs, abilities and vulnerabilities. Not a one-size-fits-all program delivered to a wide range of ages.
The great part about teaching children about nutrition means getting kids hands-on and exploring food in a variety of ways. Although messy, it’s invaluable. Food and its science is one of my great passions and I've always loved sharing my creations and knowledge with others. Being involved in the kitchen from a young age I know helped me to develop many life skills, like understanding what goes into many of our foods, basic science and math, and appreciating the difference between whole or authentically prepared foods vs. those that are commercially made.
I first became interested in nutrition after a lengthy period of deteriorating health about 15 years ago, which turned out to be coeliac disease. While my symptoms dissipated with dietary management, my memories of living with chronic illness didn't. I became much more appreciative of good health and wanted a career helping others.
Later on with motherhood, an interest in childhood nutrition and feeding naturally transpired. Then due to my youngest child experiencing sensory-related feeding difficulties, further exploration of the feeding side of nutrition and its intricacies became necessary.
At Junior Food Explorers, the focus isn't just on growing healthy bodies, but minds as well. This is done by promoting healthy food relationships, which is more than just healthy eating — it underpins it.
Why Junior Food Explorers for your early learning centre?
Healthy eating is an important part of raising a child and raising a child takes a community
We help centres become more active and effective in promoting the practice of healthy eating. The program covers the not-so-straightforward hows of getting children to eat better without hiding food, pressure or bribery.
With many areas of Sydney experiencing greater vacancies, having a nutrition program as part of your curriculum can provide great appeal — not just to prospective families, but existing ones. Just like some centres engage a sports teacher on a weekly basis, I work with children as their food teacher developing food literacy, and confidence and competency around food — all of which contribute to better eating.
The program is a wonderful way to contribute to National Quality Standard (NQS) 2.1 Health & Safety, specifically element 2.1.3. Healthy Lifestyle. And because developing healthy, adventurous eaters is a combined effort, we can assist our enrolled centres with practical food, health and nutrition ideas that contribute to NQS Quality Area 6, which is all about collaborative partnerships with families and communities.
We both have a passion for helping little ones, so why not we work together to support families and make this generation one of the healthiest? I'd love to hear from you.
Evidence-based nutrition, plated up safely
Qualifications and training:
SOS Approach to Feeding
Nutrition Society of Australia
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia
All educators have WWC checks, safe food handling and first aid certification.