It’s much easier to create good health habits than it is to change bad ones. That’s the simple premise behind Discover CATCH: Early Childhood, the new child wellness program from JCC Association that seeks to bring the gift of healthy habits to the very youngest members of the community – and their families.
To help address the nation’s critical obesity problem, JCC Association, in collaboration with The University of Texas School of Public Health and its CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Program, has created Discover CATCH: Early Childhood.
Based on a foundation of Jewish values, Discover CATCH: Early Childhood nurtures a love of physical activity in children ages 3 to 5, and encourages them to develop lifelong healthy eating habits through gardening and nutritional education.
Through Discover CATCH: Early Childhood, children learn to have fun while exercising and developing loco motor, non-loco motor, and manipulative skills in a series of age-appropriate, non-competitive activities. They learn to differentiate between “go” foods (healthy) and “whoa” foods (less healthy – approach with caution).
Discover CATCH: Early Childhood employs a holistic approach to child health, it involves the JCC’s Early Childhood, Health and Fitness, Family Engagement and Jewish Life departments, and engages teachers, children, and families to work together to build healthy habits. A series of parent tip sheets brings the learning home from school, and helps families think more carefully about food and nutrition.
Together, through Discover CATCH: Early Childhood, we can create an environment where physical activity, health education, and healthy eating behaviors are valued and taught…and help put the community’s youngest members on a lifelong path of health and caring for their bodies.
“The children know that Monday is “Coach K” day. They look forward to Coach K coming in and leading them through the exercises. They respond to “freeze” hands on knees 1 2 3; the younger classes have caught on to it as well. I have made changes to our menu introducing foods that many children have never eaten. Examples include pumpkin dip, fresh raw veggies with low fat homemade ranch bean dip and more fresh fruit than most children are offered in a life time. The children show me their muscles as they are eating “good, healthy” food. The children and staff have all benefited from the program.” –Birmingham Preschool Director
Here at the Cohn Early Childhood Learning Center we have made big changes as a result of adopting this new health and wellness initiative. We have added even more fresh fruit and veggies into our afternoon snack calendar, and we have also eliminated fruit juice from our hot lunch program. Instead, we are offering bottled water. In addition, we have also added a new CATCH extra-curricular class. This class focuses on providing an additional 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity for our children on a bi-weekly basis, and is be taught by the LJCC’s own Coach Kreston. For more information, contact Kreston Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 879-0411 ext. 246.
David Lorberbaum, whose child attends the preschool, and his colleagues at Lorberbaum Odrezin and Associates have graciously donated plans for a beautiful Children’s Garden, which we hope to break ground on later this year. The addition of the LJCC Children’s Garden will give our children a wonderful learning opportunity. We will be able to show them the process of growing fresh fruits and vegetables from seed to harvest. Children can learn new skills, have fun, play, and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden tending plants and growing their own food. From tending their own plants, they can learn about the science of plants, animals, weather and the environment, and about healthy eating.
This program is made possible by grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and the Birmingham Jewish Foundation.
Love the J. I grew up going to the J. We love everything the J offers. Group fitness, swim lessons, and camp for my upcoming 1st grader. We are excited about Family Fun Nights starting soon.