7 Big Childcare Changes that Are Making Kids Healthier


school food

Childcare centers are serving healthier food and pushing more physical activity than they did five years ago. But it's less clear that these changes are promoting health equity for Latinos and other minority children, according to a new report. The report, Early Care and Education Policies and Programs to Support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity: Best Practices and Changes Over Time, reviews policy and system changes in food service, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education (ECE) settings from 2011 to 2016. ECE settings include childcare centers, day care homes, Head Start programs, and preschools. The report was led by Healthy Eating Research. "The early childhood years are critical to the prevention of obesity," according to the report. "The role of ...

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20 State Profiles on Drinking Water Access and Quality in Schools & Child Care Centers



Access to free drinking water is not a given in schools and child care centers, although it is a key strategy to build lifelong healthy habits in children. Safe and appealing drinking water is particularly important to increase water consumption among Latino kids, who face more obstacles to being healthy, thus face higher rates of obesity and chronic disease. At the state policy level, drinking water availability in child care centers is governed by child care center licensing regulations, and drinking water availability in public schools is primarily governed by school nutrition policies, state plumbing codes, and school facilities standards. A recent study looked at state-wide policies in 20 states for drinking water quality and access in public schools and licensed child-care ...

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Nation’s Largest ‘Zoo School’ to Open in San Antonio



Imagine you're 4 years old. How would you feel going to preschool with crocodiles, elephants, and butterflies? What about learning letters while on nature walks? That childhood fantasy is reality for kids at the Will Smith Zoo School in San Antonio (68% Latino). The Zoo School, which opened in 2004 and became licensed in 2014 at the San Antonio Zoo, will expand its capacity from about 50 to more than 200 students in 2018 and become the largest nature-based preschool in the nation, SA Current reports. Zoo officials believe that learning can be as much of a serious hands-on experience as it is messy fun. "Children will spend time in nature exploring and discovering the wonders of nature," according to the Zoo School Parent Handbook. "Basic preschool concepts will be ...

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The Wild Story of How Residents Petitioned for Free Pre-K in Florida



Florida (24% Latino) is home to the nation's largest free preschool program. How did they get it? The long and winding story started 70 years ago and called for epic action—like enabling people to tax themselves for the sake of children, and local residents bypassing state legislators and petitioning for a public vote for universal Pre-K as a Florida Constitutional amendment. By the end, Florida had a model that other states can follow to get free Pre-K in their state. The Need for Greater Access to Preschool Latino and all children who attend high-quality early childhood programs are better prepared for kindergarten and overall school success than children who do not attend such programs. However, Latino kids and families across the country face many barriers to access ...

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Latino Childhood Development Research: Strategy—Early Care


early care preschool program with diverse kids

This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review » The Benefits of ECE Programs for Kids Children who participate in high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs experience a range of immediate and long-term cognitive and health benefits, with the greatest impact seen in low-income populations.98 Although extensive literature is available on the long-term effects of Head Start and other early childhood development programs on black and white children, the effects of these programs on Latino populations have mostly been ignored.125 Additionally, nearly 40 years ago, it was recognized that cultural differences exist among the different Spanish-speaking people and that different subgroups should be analyzed separately. ...

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Latino Childhood Development Research: Early Care and Education


latino toddler boy shapes in preschool

This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review » Latino Kids Start Developmentally Behind their Peers Although Latino children may be of similar weight at birth and equally able to thrive in the first 2 years of life compared with white children,96 their ability to reason and remember tasks (cognitive processing skills), verbally communicate, and identify letters, numbers, and shapes (preliteracy skills) lessens significantly by age 24 months, and these disparities appear even more prevalent in Mexican-American children than in other Latino subgroups.1 In general, a 15- to 25-percentage point gap exists for Latino children relative to their white peers.97 Children who start behind in kindergarten often stay behind. See more in ...

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Outdoor Learning Environments Soon Available in TX



Texas (39.1% Latino population) is launching five Outdoor Learning Environment demonstration sites across the state, three of which are at early childcare centers. This is great news for many Latino students across the state. Currently, children today can spend 8-10 hours a day in childcare. However, like many Latino-majority schools, childcare facilities offer less time for kids to play and be active. As early as age four, Latino children face gaps in academic performance and disparities in obesity. Latino kids need safe places to play and be active to reduce obesity and boost academic achievement. Naturalize Outdoor Playgrounds Play – particularly play in nature – is critical for healthy child development. Nature supports creative problem solving, enhances cognitive ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 11/14: Early Childhood Development and Latino Kids



Abuse. Neglect. Poverty. Household dysfunction. Latino kids are more likely than their peers to suffer these kinds of "adverse childhood experiences." This can hinder children's healthy development, school readiness, and overall health and wellness in many ways. To drive solutions, Salud America! will unveil a new research review, "The State of Latino Early Childhood Development," at the #SaludTues Tweetchat on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, to start a conversation about new ways to reduce childhood trauma and boost healthy development. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Early Childhood Development and Latino Kids” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. EST Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludAmerica CO-HOSTS: Zero to Three (@ZEROTOTHREE); Cero A ...

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Pediatricians Prescribe Books to Boost Literacy in Latino Families



Pediatricians play a big role in a child's health. But not in the way you might think. Treating flu and other illnesses is only 10% of what makes a person healthy. The rest is genetics (20%), environment (20%), and daily behaviors (50%). That's why it's so important for pediatricians to engage parents and kids to improve daily behaviors—like reading to young children and playing outside—especially among Latinos who have limited safe places to play and early educational gaps. Two amazing reading programs are doing just that. Reach Out and Read Latinos often enter kindergarten developmentally behind their non-Latino peers, Salud America! research shows. For example, as early as age four, children in low-income families hear 30 million fewer words than than their middle and ...

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