Living Her Dream Educating and Caring for Children

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Provider Maria Claudia Ortega of Atlanta, GA featured by National CACFP Sponsors Association

​​After immigrating to the United States from Columbia, Maria Claudia Ortega realized she could still have her dream of taking care of children through her own home childcare. She immediately became licensed and opened her doors to My Little Geniuses. Eighteen years later, she continues educating and caring for children, working diligently to provide a safe, secure and happy environment.

"Love is the most important part of caring for children. I hope that they will take what I teach them and the experiences that they have with me throughout their lives."

She wants to provide the children with opportunities to explore and develop their own unique individuality. Maria loves music and uses songs to teach the children preschool academics. She encourages physical activity through play, taking daily walks to the park and walking to the library frequently. There is a farm in the area where both the children and the parents spend time learning where food comes from, how to milk a cow and even how to gather eggs from a chicken.

Maria knows it is important to provide nutritional experiences. She teaches her children about gardening basics, and as the children gain experience and interest, she encourages them to cultivate tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and many other vegetables. The children get firsthand experience of the food cycle when the plants they grow appear on the dinner table. Their favorites are making homemade tomato sauce for pizza and incorporating their homegrown fruits and veggies into smoothies.

Maria uses MyPlate and her own experiences to educate parents. She holds two nutrition training classes a year. Last summer, she taught the parents about sugar, specifically the sugar in sodas and other sugary drinks. Every month she sends a recipe home and encourages parents to serve them, hoping to reinforce what she has taught and encouraging good nutrition habits with the whole family. For Maria, this is one more way she can help establish a healthy environment for children.

CACFP is an indicator of quality childcare. When children are cared for by providers who are part of the CACFP program, they are receiving the best nutrition available. Learn more about other CACFP providers featured in the Member Showcase at CACFP's website,

Since 1986, the National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA) is the leading national organization for sponsors who administer the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). It provides education and support to thousands of members in the CACFP community and in particular to sponsors of all sizes from across the country. CACFP strives to improve communication between families, caregivers, sponsors and their supervising government agencies.

Source: National CACFP Sponsors Association


Categories: Pre-School

Tags: CACFP, childcare, children, education, food, NCA, nutrition, preschool, USDA

About National CACFP Sponsors Association

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The National CACFP Sponsors Association serves as a national platform which provides education, support, and resources to organizations who administer the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program to the CACFP community.

National CACFP Sponsors Association
PO Box 1748
Round Rock, TX 78680