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Encouraging Lifelong Healthy Habits in Early Childhood Education

By YWCA Minneapolis
November 12, 2019
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Our aspiration is to help bring health and wellness to everyone in our community. And that doesn’t stop with just our fitness members – that’s why we embed tenets of healthy living for youth in our afterschool and summer programs and children in our early learning programs, too.

Through YWCA Early Childhood Education, we demonstrate healthy practices to children at an early age – helping to jumpstart lifelong wellness habits.

Children in Early Childhood Education play with a parachute outdoors

Planning Energetic Activities Each Week

Each week, teachers create lesson plans that include healthy, active activities. Some of them include going for walks to the park or farmers market, playing soccer in the gym or having dance parties in the music and movement room. YWCA Downtown also has three playgrounds (infant, toddler and preschool) that allow children to practice developmentally appropriate large motor and social skills.

Mindfulness and Yoga

Not only are teachers planning activities to develop large motor skills, but they are also incorporating mindfulness techniques through yoga. Many of the teachers utilize yoga techniques with behavior management which allows children to practice self-regulation. Yoga has quickly become a favorite activity to help the children transition to lunch and nap time.

Child is held in a pool by a swimming instructor who is showing him how to blow bubbles

Swimming Lessons

Each week, our preschool children participate in swimming lessons. The children are excited to see their swim instructors and practice skills like putting their faces in the water, blowing bubbles, floating, kicking and bobbing in the water.

Seeing Healthy Lifestyles in Action

On walks through YWCA Downtown and YWCA Midtown, children see fitness members working out in the studios, and using the cardio and weightlifting equipment. Seeing members working out normalizes healthy lifestyles and encourages conversations about fitness. New families who enroll their children are offered fitness memberships for one year that allow them to utilize the facilities and services, too.

Children eating peas and carrots at a table

Nutrition and Good Hygiene

Teaching children about healthy living doesn’t end with physical activity. Our Anti-Bias Curriculum supports learning about nutrition and hygiene through handwashing, cooking activities and other themed lesson plans.

Practicing Daily Skills

As educators, we want to ensure all children are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. When children practice these skills daily, it helps them develop habits that can stick for a lifetime.

Learn More about YWCA Early Childhood Education

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