Washington County, Maryland Puts Action Planning To Work for Child Care Centers
The Washington County Health Department in Hagerstown, Maryland is actively working to promote Let’s Move! Child Care (LMCC) best practices among Head Start, faith-based, and private child care centers. Two providers—Rehoboth Learning Center and Hagerstown Community College Children’s Learning Center—have been particularly proactive in meeting the goals outlined in their action plans and successfully created healthier environments to help the children in their care thrive.
Rehoboth Learning Center in Williamsport, Maryland was already on the path to creating a healthier environment for its 95 children when it decided to tackle physical activity as an area of improvement. The Center now encourages teachers to spend 50-60 minutes each day outside engaging children in active play or inside engaging children in music and movement time. One year since creating an action plan, Rehoboth now incorporates active outside play time in the morning from 9:45 until 10:30 or 11 AM. Outside playtime is spent walking to the local park to play on the equipment or using the roped-off parking lot to play with hula hoops, jump ropes, Frisbees, or sidewalk chalk. Director Alice Johnson says that some of the kids just love to run around and chase each other. Also, with music and movement in the morning, playing All Aboard the Choo Choo Train, and outside active play time in the morning and afternoon, Rehoboth has reached the benchmark of dedicating 90 minutes a day to play! Rehoboth is also committed to parent education, distributing a monthly newsletter and highlighting LMCC to encourage parent to visit the LMCC website to find helpful ways to be healthy and active with their children. Rehoboth has also committed to being a partner for the upcoming Rethink Your Drink campaign and educating parents about sugar sweetened beverages.
I'm Happy to be outside!
At Hagerstown Community College Children’s Learning Center, a focus was placed on increasing parent awareness and education. HCCCLC provides care and meals for 75 children. Director Terry Kitchen wanted to jump start the health and wellness efforts and, with input from a newly formed wellness committee consisting of employees, a nutritionist, and parents, a wellness policy was drafted. Parent education about sugar sweetened beverages and strategies to reduce screen time were also included in the wellness policy. The HCCCLC is committed to serving family style meals and continues to work to offer healthy meals and engaging food experiences.
I See, I Smell, I Taste! Yum! Jicama Salad and Kiwi from "Eating the Alphabet" workshop at Hagerstown Community College Children's Learning Center in Hagerstown, MD.
For more tips and resources to help you implement your action plan, please visit the Let’s Move! Child Care Resources Page.