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Let’s Move! Child Care Update: Success Stories from Tribal Communities

Since the launch of Let’s Move! Child Care in June 2011, we’ve been receiving success stories from child care home providers, centers, Head Start programs, and all kinds of communities across the country. Here are a few examples of exciting activities tribes have launched to bring Let’s Move! Child Care into the lives of children and families.

Children at Play: Nature and the Coulsa Indian Community

Children and teachers from the Coulsa Indian Community embark on their weekly nature walk. (Photo by Kim Nall)

International Mud Day at Hand-in-Hand Learning Center

Children from the Hand-in-Hand Learning Center, at Colusa Indian Community, bask in the sun and get their hands -- feet and bodies -- a little mucky, in celebration of International Mud Day. (Photo by Kim Nall) 

Garden Tending: Colusa Indian Community Hand-in-Hand Garden

Hand-in-Hand Learning Center toddlers and teachers tend the school's garden -- one eager student enjoys picking and eating his fresh broccoli. (Photo by Kim Nall)

In northern California, the Colusa Indian Community Council has been hard at work in the garden at the Hand-in-Hand Learning Center, a child care center that serves children ages 18 months through 12 years. Since our previous piece on Hand-in-Hand’s garden, the project has expanded, gaining the support of many community members and using donated fencing and tools.

Not only have they planted a wide variety of vegetables this winter – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, onions, cabbage and Swiss chard – but children have also taken their math, science and health activities outside. The center has designated a Let’s Move! committee chair for their child care center, who's role is to help put nutrition and physical activity into practice for the kids and lead mini-trainings at staff meetings each month. The child care staff is also planning to launch a mentor system to make sure there are at least 60 minutes of structured and unstructured play every day.

Strong partnerships are the key to their success. Hand-in-Hand actively reaches out to parents and families through regular newsletters and events, and asks for feedback – like examples of healthy family recipes. The Colusa Indian Community takes field trips to a local fruit stand and works with a California produce supply company to purchase fresh foods from their area. They’ve also partnered with the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion – based at California State University, Chico to plan garden education activities and manage their resources effectively.

The White Earth Child Care/Early Childhood Program, located on the White Earth Reservation in northwest Minnesota, has also demonstrated their commitment to Let’s Move! Their program has switched to more fresh fruit and vegetables and stopped buying processed foods and sodas with tribal funds. One of the 5 goals of Let’s Move! Child Care calls for limiting screen time, and White Earth’s Child Care Program has rewritten policy to allow no more than 1 hour of screen time per day.

Sledding at the White Earth Resvervation

Boys from the White Earth Reservation hit the slopes for some winter Let's Move! outdoor fun. (Photo by Barb Fabre and staff)

Tree Climbing: White Earth Reservation Gets Moving Outside

This child demonstrates a great way to get moving, while on the White Earth Reservation -- climbing trees. Get moving in the great outdoors! (Photo by Barb Fabre and staff)

White Earth Nation Reservation Pow Wow

Toya, Jessica and Caden pose at a pow wow at the White Earth Reservation. (Photo by Barb Fabre and staff)

The community strives to provide high-quality cultural activities for children, including traditional pow wow dancing and Ojibwa games like the moccasin game and “Snake in the Snow.” Recently, child care staff has done outreach and coaching for families to demonstrate how to use ordinary household items to keep children and adults physically active.

Have an early care and education success story you’d like to share? Head over to the Let’s Move! Child Care website and tell us how you’ve embraced the Let’s Move! effort.

Joining Let’s Move! Child Care is easy! You can sign up on our website for more information and take the interactive Checklist Quiz.

You can also visit Let’s Move! in Indian Country for additional stories and resources for tribal communities.

Let’s Move! Child Care is a nationwide call-to-action to empower early care and education providers to make positive health changes in children that could last a lifetime. Let’s Move! Child Care is for parents and caregivers, too. As a parent or caregiver, you can use the free online resources and talk with your early care and education providers, so that together you can give your kids the very best start.

References to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to the audience. These references do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations, their programs and policies, or their research and materials by Administration for Children and Families or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred.