GCCA Child Care Center Plans Fall Open House, Introduces New Eat Well Play Hard Program

The Genesee Community College Association Child Care Center is hosting an Open House on Thursday, August 23 from 9 am to 12 pm. This is a great opportunity for parents to see the renovated space and meet the teachers. Openings are still available for the fall 2007 semester.

In addition to introducing parents and their children to the Child Care Center, staff members will discuss and answer questions about the new Eat Well Play Hard nutrition program. The program, which is sponsored by the New York State Department of Health, was developed to help prevent childhood obesity and reduce long-term risks for chronic disease by promoting good dietary practices and increased physical activity beginning at age two.

“We are so excited about this program,” said Stephanie Kellogg, Preschool Lead Teacher. “We are able to show the kids that moving around is both fun and good for them; that there are other fun things to do besides watching TV or playing on the computer.”

Childhood obesity is a major public health problem in New York State. One in five children are overweight; nearly one third of New York’s school children are overweight and the percentage of overweight children and youth has doubled since 1980.

Through activities such as comparing the taste of different color apples, navigating obstacle courses in the gym, and running on bubble wrap, the program helps make eating well and physical activity part of the children’s daily lives. One activity the children especially enjoy at home is helping to prepare a meal. Small helpful acts like picking grapes and washing lettuce teach the children how to help prepare and to appreciate their own healthy meals.

“The kids really enjoy being able to have some control over their meal,” said Kellogg. “It makes them feel special to be part of its preparation and be able to share it with each other.”

The Eat Well Play Hard program doesn’t just teach children the importance of healthy living; it reaches out to their parents as well. The Child Care Center offers parent training sessions that help them incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into their home routine. The training sessions, which are offered during lunch hours, include topics such as healthy food preparation, buying fresh local produce, and encouraging children to do simple exercise like dancing to the radio or playing tag outside.

“One of the great things about this program is that it reminds busy parents that there are plenty of opportunities for their children to live in a healthy manner,” said Maggie Hagen, Director of the GCCA Child Care Center. “We find that some children come in and have no idea how to run around on a playground, or they have never eaten fresh vegetables. This is a way for us to help both parents and children see how easy and fun it is to make healthy choices.”

Located at the main entrance to the Batavia Campus, the GCCA Child Care Center offers complete childcare services for infants six weeks to preschool aged children. The hours are from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, following the academic calendar. Children of students, staff and faculty, and the community may use the Child Care Center on a space available basis. Rates are set according to the age and the number of days that the child uses the Center. The GCCA Child Care Center has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.

For more information contact Maggie Hagen, Child Care Center Director, at 585-345-6833 or go to: http://www.genesee.edu/about/facilities/childcare/default.cfm