Have you ever seen a group of pre-school kids show their muscles? The children enrolled in Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Child Development Center did just that as they showed Ms. McCoy, and her side kick puppet Annie, how they Go, Grow, and Glow … something they learned from their weekly lessons as part of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) Cooperative Extension’s Try Healthy program.
“We were excited to have the opportunity to work with the N.C. A&T program, allowing our students to learn more about healthy foods and physical activity in a fun way with Ms. McCoy,” shared Kimberly Harris, Director of PCC’s Child Development Center (CDC). “It is important to us that we are regularly offering new and positive learning experiences for the kids enrolled at PCC’s Child Development Center.”
The Try Healthy program was developed after a 2017 North Carolina Recreation and Park Association report noting the following health related facts:
• NC ranked 13th in the nation for obesity
• Less than half (46.8%) of adults meet Center for Disease Control recommendations for staying physically active.
• One in three children in NC are overweight
• 35.8% of parents served their child unbalanced meals in the past year because they did not have money to purchase healthy foods.
To assist, the NC A&T Cooperative Extension received funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) grant to become a SNAP-ED implementing agency. This allowed the group to offer the Try Healthy program to interested partners, including PCC.
This partnership led to weekly Go, Glow, Grow! lessons for kids enrolled in PCC’s Child Development center where they discovered healthy habits.
“Towhana McCoy, NC A&T Cooperative Extension representative, taught the 3-5 year old kids about physical activity, healthy eating, and staying healthy,” Harris said. “Joining Ms. McCoy on her visits was a puppet named Annie. Through fun games, songs, and food tastings, Ms. McCoy and Annie helped the kids learn which foods helps us all Go, Glow, and Grow!”
The children learned songs about different foods, encouraging them to learn and understand the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate program, as well. The weekly visits also included a healthy snack, information for parents to take home to help continue the learning, and entertaining physical activity.
When asked about her favorite activity with Ms. McCoy, Kennedy said it was “trying new foods Ms. McCoy offered”. Her friend Emma said her favorite part was when Ms. McCoy “showed us the foods with the puppet [Annie].”
“The children really learned a lot and had fun singing the songs and trying new foods. We saw a few funny faces as they ate the wraps with spinach, turkey, and yogurt,” laughed Harris “but then some kids asked for seconds. Either way, these experiences help us all learn, and that’s what’s most important.”
About PCC’s Child Development Center:
Established in 1977, the Piedmont Community College Child Development Center has a highly qualified and educated staff dedicated to meeting the developmental, educational and social needs of young children. The staff strives to create a wholesome, happy and safe environment for the children to develop a positive self-image and a respect for other children and adults.
With a 5-star rating from the NC Division of Child Development, the Center is open year-round to children of students, College staff, and the general public regardless of race, nationality, or creed. New in 2018, the Center now works with kids ages 2-5!
PCC Child Development Center considers the “home-center” relationship to be very important in the development of young children. We have a very family friendly atmosphere and encourage the families we serve to visit, interact and volunteer with their children while enrolled at the Center.
To receive more information, schedule a visit, or obtain an enrollment/waiting list application, please contact Kimberly Harris at (336) 322-2338 or Kimberly.Harris@piedmontcc.edu. Additional details also available at www.piedmontcc.edu/cdc.
Group Photo left to right: Emma, Keely, Ethan, Haven, Damian, and Amelia with Ms. McCoy