Dr. Jamie Harvey, faculty member in Health and Human Performance and Head Start Body Start Physical Activity consultant, is participating in the Inaugural Take It Outside! Week, October 19-23. She will visit Avondale Head Start Center, encouraging students to increase outdoor play while celebrating the environment.
Presented by Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS), the national initiative is sponsored by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR). Its purpose is to increase physical activity, get children outside and to connect with the natural world.
Head Start Center Director LaTonya Russell is planning for activities. “We are delighted to have Jamie Harvey volunteer her time and visit our Head Start center to help increase our children’s physical activity,” Russell said.
HSBS Physical Activity Consultants are a cadre of physical activity expert with experience in early childhood education and movement as well as other related fields. Consultants provide training and assistance to Play Space Grant recipients. They support grant recipients by conducting three site visits providing in-person coaching, and training. Consultants observe, model and discuss strategies regarding physical activity and outdoor play as a part of their consultations. They make recommendations regarding how newly acquired resources can be maximized to incorporate more movement activities outdoors. Consultants and Head Start Center staff and families work collaboratively to increase physical activity healthy lifestyles for young children.
“Outdoor play is associated with greater amounts of physical activity in children, and research has shown that opportunities for whole body exercise has a long –lasting influence as preschool physical activity tracks throughout childhood, “said Karin Spencer, Ed.D., HSBS Center Director. “Unfortunately children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, “said Spencer. “We want to help early childhood education and care staff discovers the benefits of outdoor play across developmental domains and learn about the features of high quality outdoor play spaces that promote movement opportunities for children of all ability levels. When adults model and teach the importance of physical activity, young children are more likely to adopt a lifetime healthful practices and behaviors.”
HSBS is providing programs with everything they need to celebrate Take It Outside! Week including activity ideas, tips for facilitating play, and suggestions for enhancing the environment. From Books That Move You to 15 Simple Ways to Get Moving, the activities are designed to increase physical activity for young children and promote family involvement. Head Start Centers serve over 900,000 children and their families. To view the free Take It Outside! Week resources, visit www.headstart.org.