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MSU Extension experts accept TummySafe honor
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Two Mississippi State University Extension Service professionals were recently honored by the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences for their work in the early childhood field.
Jenna Schilling, Extension associate, and Natasha Haynes, Extension agent in family and consumer sciences, won the national Early Childhood Child Care Training Award for the TummySafe program, a food certification course for child care providers.
The award recognizes outstanding child care professional training that addresses the needs of children birth to 8 years of age.
TummySafe is a six-module curriculum about food safety practices. Material is delivered online and in traditional classroom settings. Participants can take a proctored exam, and those who receive a score of 80 percent or better are certified.
“The MSU Extension Service created the TummySafe program in response to the needs of child care providers across the state,” Schilling said. “They were required by the Mississippi State Department of Health to obtain and maintain food managers certification as part of their license requirements. But existing programs were geared toward restaurant managers and staff, not people who work in child care facilities.”
TummySafe focuses on topics such as diapering, handling breast milk and formula, safe serving practices, and cooking, storing and holding food.
“By providing the course online, child care providers can access their modules from home or anywhere with Internet access,” Haynes said. “Offering online learning and testing at the county Extension office decreases the time and expense of traveling to attend workshops, too. This is vitally important for busy child care providers who work long hours in a challenging field.”