The things that children learn when they're young provide stepping stones for the rest of their lives. This is why it is so important for children to learn and practice healthy behaviors in positive environments from the start. Childcare facilities are the perfect places to provide healthy foundations for children, and we have 3 easy practices to help you get started on making health and wellness a priority in your childcare facility.
New Year's Resolutions
This week, many schools around Indianapolis are reopening their doors to students after a summer away. A new school year provides opportunities for school leadership to implement new plans and goals for improvement, and this year the school district of Warren Township is implementing some new year's resolutions of their own. Superintendent Dr. Timothy Hanson and Assistant Superintendent Ryan Russel are hoping to focus on the district's view of health and wellness. Warren Township has a new District Wellness Policy that has a larger focus on physical activity in schools as well as stronger nutrition standards. This new wellness policy is much more comprehensive than the district's original and provides an encouraging stepping stone as the district moves forward to make health and wellness a priority in all of its schools.
What is a school wellness policy?
In 2004, Congress passed a law stating that each local educational agency (including school districts) that participates in the National School Lunch Program, or any other federal child nutrition program, is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.
At Jump IN for Healthy Kids, we are very happy that it's summer. Long sunny days, warm weather, and outdoor activities allow for some wonderful family time, physical activity, and just plain fun. Before you hop on that bike or send the kids out to the swing set, we wanted to share with you some tips to help ensure that the outdoor equipment you're using is safe.
Central Indiana has many wonderful qualities, but a year ago, our investment in the city's built environment was looking bleak. That has started changing, and Indianapolis has shared several bits of built environment good news recently. The term "built environment" refers to the built structures in communities and includes everything from sidewalks to trails to public transportation. The quality of a community's built environment can severely impact public health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "The built environment influences a person’s level of physical activity. For example, inaccessible or nonexistent sidewalks and bicycle or walking paths contribute to sedentary habits. These habits lead to poor health outcomes such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer."
Jump IN for Healthy Kids has a close partner in Early Learning Indiana, helping our work to reduce overweight and obesity prevalence in children. Research tells us that children establish their habits around nutrition and physical activity by age five, so ensuring they learn healthy behaviors early on is critical. We reach these young children through the Taking Steps to Healthy Success (TSHS) program, a best practices approach to nutrition and physical activity for children ages zero to five that covers the topics of nutrition, healthy beverages, physical activity, screen time, breast feeding, family engagement and staff wellness. Jump IN and Early Learning Indiana offer TSHS free to child care providers and all participating programs will receive a cash incentive upon completing the requirements. Thanks to Anthem, Jump IN and Early Learning Indiana are now enrolling 25 new child care providers to begin the full session and 25 providers who've already had the training for ongoing technical assistance to ensure that the best practices are being thoroughly followed and are embedded into the policies and day-to-day of the centers. More than 170 child care providers in central Indiana have already participated in the program, impacting more than 10,000 children.
It's spring, and the school year is coming to an end. The good weather and longer daylight hours mean more opportunities for outdoor play and physical activity. Make a commitment today to keep those activities going all summer long - blending family fun time with physical activity is a winning combination!
This is the last blog post of a three-part series to tell you about a unique elementary school, nestled in Lawrence: Harrison Hill School. That part of Lawrence is economically depressed, and its residents frequently struggle with poverty and the challenges that go with it. But Harrison Hill is unusual as a community school: services that families need are accessible at the school (part 1), and School Community Liaison Neal Gore has developed an exceptionally robust family engagement program (part 2). The third piece of this work is improving kids' health by creating a healthy environment where making good nutrition and physical activity choices are part of daily life.
Have the Olympics triggered conversations in your house about sports and having a healthy body? Now is a great time to talk about the connection between physical activity and staying healthy. You don't have to be a world-class athlete to have strong bones and muscles. Here is a simple formula that you can use every day (you may already be doing one or more of these activities) to help your body function in good form.
Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Looking to start, expand, or freshen up your physical activity or health education program in the new year? We've rounded up 7 toolkits and curriculum resources for you to explore.
Animal Trackers is a complete motor skills and physical activity curriculum developed by the nation’s leading specialists in health and education. A program for preschool children ages 3-6, Animal Trackers features over 60 activities spread out over 10 units filled with colorful characters, games, songs, and stories. Creep and crawl like Lenny the Lizard, or gallop like Harry the Horse. Fee required to access program materials.
CATCH Early Childhood is designed to nurture a love of physical activity, provide an introduction to classroom-based gardening and nutrition, and encourage healthy eating in children ages 3-5. Little ones are motivated to walk, run, jump, dance, and move their whole bodies while playing and having fun.