According to a June 14, 2011 article in the News and Observer, first lady Michelle Obama has set new standards as part of a national initiative “to encourage child care centers to promote healthy habits starting with the littlest Americans….that promote healthy eating, exercise and limited time in front of TV, computer and other screens.”
- Provide one to two hours of physical activity daily.
- No screen time for children under 2. Limit screen time for older children to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and ensure children have no more than one to two hours of quality screen time per day.
- Serve fruit and vegetables at every meal, eat family-style when possible and no fried foods.
- Provide access to water throughout the day, and do not serve sugary drinks.
- Support mothers who want to breast-feed by providing mother’s milk to infants and welcoming mothers who want to breast-feed their children during the child-care day.”
While this initiative is geared toward full day child care centers, at The School of Grace, we are already following similar standards as a half day preschool program:
- All children experience outdoor exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per morning. Teachers have alternate plans for movement indoors during inclement weather. In addition, children often participate in stretching exercises as they prepare for Circle Time and other special programs. In Music, all songs include either fine or gross motor movement, or both. Physical Activity is a natural part of our curriculum.
- No one watches television while at school. In order to encourage social interaction and concrete exploration, none of our classrooms have computers. We feel we can accomplish much more without computers as we build, explore and create.
- We encourage healthy eating habits. Snack must include at least two food groups. Fruits and vegetables are always preferred. Every day, food is served family style, whether we are eating snack or lunch.
- All classrooms have easy access to water. Drinks may include milk, water or 100% fruit juice. We do not serve any drinks with high fructose corn syrup, added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Water is always offered as a drink choice during snack.
- Nursing mothers are welcome to breast feed their children during the day. We are happy to feed either breast milk or formula in a bottle, based on the mother’s preference.
We have not changed our healthy policies because of the new “Let’s Move” challenge. These have been a part of our program for the past 16 years. The School of Grace has promoted building the foundation in children for a healthy lifestyle since our inception.
At The School of Grace we are thrilled that our first lady has taken the initiative to encourage all early childhood programs to nurture children in a healthy environment.