The Ozarks Technical Community College Early Childhood Education Center earned statewide recognition for its commitment to children’s health and wellness. The center adopted the Missouri MOve Smart Guidelines, developed by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, Bureau of Community Food and Nutrition Assistance, which were designed to boost physical activity practices and improve the health and wellness of children ages 2-5. The guidelines include recommendations for total amounts of structured and unstructured physical activity, indoor physical activity, learning-integrated physical activity, screen time, staff participation in physical activity and staff role modeling of an active lifestyle.
“The center’s accomplishment demonstrates a commitment to the health of the children in its care,” said Elizabeth Blau, community planner for nutrition programs. “Children who are active throughout the day establish life-long healthy habits to help prevent obesity and reduce their risk for chronic diseases as they age. Active children are more likely to become active adults.”
The MOve Smart program is voluntary and open to all licensed and license-exempt child care facilities throughout Missouri. The program is offered at three levels: minimum, which closely follows the minimum state licensing requirements, intermediate and advanced. Each level requires increasingly higher physical activity standards, and only centers that meet the intermediate or advanced levels are recognized.
The Early Childhood Education Center has achieved the advanced level.
To qualify for the MOve Smart designation, child care centers must submit a one-week schedule that highlights the types of daily physical activity occurring at the facility for each classroom, physical activity-related policies, pictures and other supporting documents to the state health department.
Child care facilities achieving MOve Smart status receive a certificate, poster and window cling to post in the facility, recognizing their achievement. They also receive a letter to provide information to parents about the new physical activity guidelines and can use the MOve Smart logo to promote the changes at the facility.
About the Early Childhood Education Center
The OTC Early Childhood Education Center provides children ages 2-5 with engaging and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities in a nurturing atmosphere. The center serves OTC students, faculty, staff and the Springfield community. It also functions as a training facility for college students in OTC’s Early Childhood Development program. These students receive hands-on training in the center and work side-by-side with experienced teachers who have extensive backgrounds in childhood education and development.
Earlier this year, the OTC Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm, launched a campaign to support an expansion of the Early Childhood Education Center’s outdoor playground. The center plans to extend the grassy areas of the playground and build a tricycle trail and sandbox on the premises. The fundraising campaign supports the center’s commitment to provide its preschoolers with a natural outdoor environment for unstructured play and physical activity.
For more information about the OTC Foundation’s Early Childhood Education Center fundraising campaign, contact Amy Bacon, college director of development, at 417-447-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Early Childhood Education Center’s ‘MOve Smart’ status, contact Jennifer Crouch, Early Childhood Education Center manager, at 417-447-8130 or email@example.com.