Dakota County hosted seven early childhood physical activity trainings (I am Moving I am Learning and CATCH Early Childhood) over a two and half year period. The effort reached 213 child care providers and teachers at 77 licensed family child care programs, and 13 licensed centers and district preschools.
The goal of the trainings and coaching support is to increase opportunities for adult-led physical activity and quality active play opportunities to ensure healthy development in toddlers and preschoolers. Early childhood programs also receive guidance on enhancing parent handbooks, program policies and engaging families in child wellness.
Getting kids moving in early childhood education programs
West Saint Paul–Mendota Heights–Eagan Area Schools partnered with Dakota County Public Health to offer physical activity training to 24 staff members at their new site, the Early Learning and Family Resource Center. Collectively, the early childhood program reaches about 150 preschoolers.
Staff who care for children from newborn to age 5 in various programs, including Early Childhood Family Education and the Community Preschool, received training in the CATCH program. CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is an evidence-based curriculum that equips teachers with skills and tools to implement a physical activity program that is fun and age-appropriate for children of all abilities. During the school year, teachers have used lesson plans, activity cards and parent tip sheets to keep children and their families moving with warm-ups, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and relaxation and stretching exercises.