CATCH training helps Carver County kids make healthy choices
Carver County parents and child care providers are determined to CATCH kids early to keep them on a lifetime path to good health. Carver County's Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) is supporting that effort at several child care centers.
The Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) is a school health program that promotes healthy lifestyle choices for pre-K through middle school-aged children.
CATCH Early Childhood is designed to nurture a love of physical activity, provide an introduction to classroom-based nutrition and encourage healthy eating. Children are motivated to walk, run, jump, dance and move their whole bodies while playing and having fun.
SHIP helped fund curriculum materials, training for teachers and equipment to implement CATCH.
About 300 children at Next Steps Learning Centers in Chaska and Chanhassen and a Lil’ Explorers Childcare Center in Waconia are now benefiting from the CATCH approach. In addition, Carver County SHIP staff are collaborating with Wright County on a Lil’ Explorers site in Delano.
“This was great training,” a Lil’ Explorers teacher said. “It was so informative and hands-on. I was able to implement CATCH in my classroom the day after the training.”
Carver County is offering the physical activity segments of CATCH Early Childhood in child care programs; nutrition curricula is offered through a separate effort.
Policy changes follow training
Carver County offered its first CATCH training for child care center directors last August. The directors agreed that it was worthwhile training, but they thought more lead teachers were needed to implement it. A second training session was offered in January and now there are 25 lead teachers.
The training is making an impact.
“We are using it in our classrooms once a day,” said Sara Sieberer, regional director of Next Step’s Learning Centers. “Our new policy is that out of two large motor times during the day, teachers must implement a CATCH activity during one of those times.”
“Making a policy change for CATCH was very easy after the training,” a Lil’ Explorer teacher said. “The trainer did a great job talking about why it is so important for children to do CATCH on a daily basis.”
CATCH is expanding its reach with additional child care providers. Carver County Public Health has conducted training for Children of Tomorrow Learning Centers in Waconia and Chanhassen.