Small Business Spotlight

Small Business Summer Spotlights: Cultivating Children’s Healthy Eating Habits with Temple Isaiah Preschool

Instacart

Instacart

Jul 28, 2023

​​This summer, Instacart is celebrating small businesses with our Small Business Summer Spotlights series. We know small businesses are the heart of their communities, and we’re proud to help them thrive and grow. Every Friday, we’ll introduce you to one of our many small business partners, so check back each week for the latest installment.

Temple Isaiah was formally incorporated as a non-profit religious corporation under the name of Temple Isaiah of Culver City on September 12, 1947. For more than 75 years, Temple Isaiah’s congregation has continuously referred to itself as the Temple Isaiah Family and has functioned as a dynamic and caring extended family, embracing its multigenerational members’ while reaching out to the entire community with a wide array of religious, social action and educational services, programs and celebrations. 

A central part of Temple Isaiah is its preschool program, where teachers work in partnership with families to nurture children’s abilities so that they can achieve their individual potential, learn to challenge the status quo and gain an understanding of the impact they have on broader communities and on the world. As the first few years of a child’s life are the most important for growth and development, and in recognition of how crucial these early years are to later learning and to the very essence of who that child will one day become, the early childhood programs of the Temple Isaiah Preschool integrate the best of early childhood theories, ideas, and practices.

As part of our Small Business Summer Spotlights series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Tamar Andrews, Director Emeritus Of Early Childhood Education & Engagement at Temple Isaiah Preschool, to learn more about early childhood education, forming healthy eating habits from a young age, and how to inspire children to get involved in the kitchen. 

Tell us more about you and your work in the early childhood development and education space.

I am recently semi-retired, serving as the Director Emeritus of Early Childhood Education & Engagement at Temple Isaiah Preschool, where I was responsible for everything from budget, hiring, professional development, the food program, extracurriculars, community engagements, and enrollment. I also teach health safety and nutrition classes at UCLA and Santa Monica College to students who are aspiring early education directors, where I discuss topics including what to buy for your first aid kit (which I buy on Instacart!), healthy snacks for children, how to cook them, and how to get kids to experiment with new foods. 

I am also a consultant for schools across the country and all of the Jewish preschools in Los Angeles, where I help advise on how to streamline administrations and make schools operate more efficiently in order to hire more teachers or pay them more. On a weekly basis, I host Zoom calls for around 300 preschool administrators, and I attend conferences around the world to speak about childhood education and nutrition.

What’s the most rewarding part of working in education? Why the preschool age specifically? 

Every child is born with one hundred billion brain cells that can make one to twelve thousand connections during the first five years of life. When you work in education, specifically with this age group, you want to make as many positive connections as possible. You are the architect of a child’s brain and creating the foundation of all of their learning and experiences. As such, everything we do, every experience they have, every toy they play with, words they hear, the food they eat, impacts the development of their brain. A high-quality foundation can withstand anything that is thrown at them later in life. By working in education, I am hoping to create a generation that will improve the world that we live in by going through my program. 

Early childhood education seems to run in the blood! Tell us more about your son’s preschool software company.

When you want to manage a high-quality center with 350 kids, you can’t spend time on the minutia– forms, billing, attendance, etc. So my son created an app that handles that and so much more– Playground. It has single-handedly transformed my work into a job that makes us feel like we’re always having fun and enjoying ourselves. 

How did you originally start using Instacart at Temple Isaiah? 

It was a fluke– I was cooking dinner for 500 people at Temple Isaiah and needed two ingredients. What was I supposed to do? Leave all the pots boiling and ovens on during rush hour? Someone said, “I’m sure there’s an app for that!” And that’s how it started. 

Now it’s an addiction! Instacart was a staple in my preschool programming; it’s a convenient, personalized shopping experience that gives us better options for the children we serve. We’ve tried to use other vendors, but we had less control over the quality of fresh foods, which really matters when you’re serving kids. The beauty of Instacart is that the second that the shopper has started, I can say, ‘I need green bananas’- we’re able to really tailor our orders to what we need on a given day. And I’ll often get the same shopper over and over again, so they learn our preferences.

How do you use it? What are the most popular items that you order?

I order a lot of produce– and baking ingredients– flour, sugar, and salt. There are definitely some, “Oh my gosh, we need some bandaids!” moments too. 

How much time do you think you’ve saved using Instacart?

A lifetime! At least that’s what it feels like. You can’t buy back the minutes that you’ve lost. The cool thing is, Instacart has allowed me to keep doing the things I love without interrupting my day to do things that are not preferred activities. I also feel good knowing our orders can contribute to the shopper’s ability to earn a flexible income.

Looking ahead, how do you hope to inspire and change the way children think about nutrition and health? 

Again, going back to the brain cells that you’re born with, one of the things that happens in life is when you’re emotional, you will fall back to your comfort foods. Comfort foods are ones that you’ve had the most positive experience with. My goal is to give children in their preschool years exposure to really healthy, good-quality foods, so those become their go-tos throughout their lives.

What do you wish every parent knew about nourishing their children? And what tips would you give them about ordering for their families on Instacart?

Especially for picky eaters, have the whole family choose items to purchase on the app, and have children help serve as co-creators in meal planning. Parents often simply sit children down in front of a meal without showing them the food choices, proteins, and prep work. I recommend making it a twice-a-week family affair– kids are more likely to eat those foods because they’ve had an active role in selection and preparation. 

Learn more about Temple Isaiah Preschool here, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. To learn more about Instacart Business and how it can be a lifeline for small business owners to save them time, save them money, and help them stay focused, click here

Previous Small Business Summer Spotlight: Creating Strong Community & Empowering Employees with Yoke’s Fresh Market

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