Encouraging Lifelong Healthy Habits in Early Childhood Education
Our aspiration is to help bring health and wellness to everyone in our community. And that doesn’t stop with just our fitness members – that’s why we embed tenets of healthy living for youth in our afterschool and summer programs and children in our early learning programs, too.
Through YWCA Early Childhood Education, we demonstrate healthy practices to children at an early age – helping to jumpstart lifelong wellness habits.
Planning Energetic Activities Each Week
Each week, teachers create lesson plans that include healthy, active activities. Some of them include going for walks to the park or farmers market, playing soccer in the gym or having dance parties in the music and movement room. YWCA Downtown also has three playgrounds (infant, toddler and preschool) that allow children to practice developmentally appropriate large motor and social skills.
Mindfulness and Yoga
Not only are teachers planning activities to develop large motor skills, but they are also incorporating mindfulness techniques through yoga. Many of the teachers utilize yoga techniques with behavior management which allows children to practice self-regulation. Yoga has quickly become a favorite activity to help the children transition to lunch and nap time.
Each week, our preschool children participate in swimming lessons. The children are excited to see their swim instructors and practice skills like putting their faces in the water, blowing bubbles, floating, kicking and bobbing in the water.
Seeing Healthy Lifestyles in Action
On walks through YWCA Downtown and YWCA Midtown, children see fitness members working out in the studios, and using the cardio and weightlifting equipment. Seeing members working out normalizes healthy lifestyles and encourages conversations about fitness. New families who enroll their children are offered fitness memberships for one year that allow them to utilize the facilities and services, too.
Nutrition and Good Hygiene
Teaching children about healthy living doesn’t end with physical activity. Our Anti-Bias Curriculum supports learning about nutrition and hygiene through handwashing, cooking activities and other themed lesson plans.
Practicing Daily Skills
As educators, we want to ensure all children are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. When children practice these skills daily, it helps them develop habits that can stick for a lifetime.