LEWISVILLE, Texas, Oct. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Learning Care Group officially launches 'Grow Fit' program encouraging balanced nutrition practices and physical activity in more than 900 early childhood education centers nationwide – including Childtime, The Children's Courtyard, Montessori Unlimited, La Petite Academy and Tutor Time schools.
- Through Grow Fit, Learning Care Group is working to support children's healthy development while preventing childhood obesity and chronic disease later in life.
- More than 75,000 children and staff celebrate the public debut of Grow Fit with a simultaneous sing-and-stretch moment at their own schools, joining in nationwide rendition of "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes."
- Learning Care Group surpasses its goal of walking to the moon and back in one month. In September, kids, staff and parents geared up to Grow Fit by walking a whopping 607,986 miles: to the moon and back and around the world 5 times.
- Learning Care Group continues its kindness-focused collaboration with 24-hour preschool network Sprout. Grow Fit teaches children to be kind to themselves, aligns with Sprout's Kindness Counts campaign.
More than 75,000 children and teachers across the country interrupted their regularly scheduled activities yesterday afternoon to come together in the name of health. Gathering for a simultaneous sing-and-stretch moment at more than 900 schools, the Learning Care Group joined in a nationwide rendition of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" to celebrate the launch of the company's Grow Fit healthy lifestyle initiative. With the introduction of Grow Fit, Learning Care Group – North America's second-largest for-profit early education provider – is making a widespread commitment to promoting wellness throughout all Childtime, Children's Courtyard, Montessori Unlimited, La Petite Academy and Tutor Time schools.
The U.S. is seeing an increase in health risks directly tied to poor food choices and physical inactivity. Studies show that one in five children is overweight or obese by age 6. To combat these trends, Learning Care Group is committing to Grow Fit, a comprehensive initiative designed to prevent childhood obesity and avoid chronic disease later in life. Grow Fit provides a clearly defined structure for the company's healthy practices regarding nutrition and physical activity. It aims to ensure children have the energy to learn and to position them for future success.
"We have the opportunity, and the responsibility, as a leader in child care to do our best to provide a healthy environment in which children can grow and learn," said Barbara Beck, CEO of Learning Care Group. "At Learning Care Group, we strive to guide the development of the whole child by providing the tools that will help children reach their full potential. Through Grow Fit, we're giving our children the knowledge, motivation and experience that will fuel their ability to learn and thrive now, and pave the way for a lifetime of healthy habits."
Walk to the Moon and Back!
In September, students, staff and families from every school in the Learning Care Group portfolio geared up to Grow Fit by stepping up to the challenge of "Walking to the Moon and Back." Mileage was tracked individually and by location all month, with children helping to chart the progress at their schools. Participants far exceeded the goal (477,710 miles), reaching 607,986 miles: enough to walk to the moon and back and circle the Earth five times.
Growing Fit, One Step at a Time
Grow Fit follows the tenets of the Let's Move! Child Care effort in the fight to prevent childhood obesity.
- Physical Activity: 1-2 hours of physical activity through the day, including outside play when possible
- Screen Time: 30 minutes or less weekly at school; 2 hours or less daily at home; None for children under 2
- Food: Serve more fruits and vegetables. Eat meals family style whenever possible. Limit fried foods.
- Beverages: Access to water throughout the day. No sugar-sweetened drinks. For children 2 and older, low-fat or non-fat milk. No more than one 4-6 oz. serving of 100% juice per day.
- Infant Feeding: Support all parents' decisions about infant feeding. Breastfeeding mothers can provide their milk to their infants and are welcome to breastfeed during school time.
In order not to overwhelm the children with many changes at once, Learning Care Group has been phasing in elements of the Grow Fit program since early this year. Since March, schools have been making a series of small changes which are expected to have a big impact in the long run. Schools are introducing new, healthier menu items gradually, allowing children the time to get accustomed to new flavors and textures and making the discovery process fun. The company is already meeting a majority of the program goals, and is also providing educational support for parents to make healthier choices at home.
Sprout Alliance: Continued Collaboration on Kindness
Learning Care Group has been working closely with 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout to promote empathy and kindness – an area of growing concern for families nationwide. The collaboration has enabled both companies to emphasize valuable life skills children need to live, play and work alongside others. With the introduction of Grow Fit, the partnership continues as children learn about being kind to themselves by making healthy choices.
"Sprout is proud to partner with The Learning Care Group in support of their 'Grow Fit' program that encourages healthy eating and physical activity," said Jim Multari, vice president of marketing, Sprout. " I had an opportunity to get active with Sportacus from LazyTown yesterday at the Grow Fit launch as he led children, teachers and families in a rousing rendition of 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.' Sprout encourages families to stay active and healthy every day across all of our platforms as part of our 'Be Kind to Yourself' initiative."
Childtime, The Children's Courtyard, La Petite Academy, and Tutor Time will continue working with Sprout this year on opportunities to build kindness and promote early literacy.
About Learning Care Group, Inc.
Headquartered in Novi, Mich., Learning Care Group provides early education and child care services to children ages 6 weeks to 13 years under its umbrella of brands: The Children's Courtyard, Childtime Learning Centers, La Petite Academy, Montessori Unlimited and Tutor Time Child Care/Learning Centers. Learning Care Group operates more than 900 schools (corporate and franchise) across 36 states, the District of Columbia and internationally, and has a system-wide capacity to serve more than 100,000 children. For more information, please visit www.learningcaregroup.com
Available in over 50 million homes, Sprout is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for children ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers. The 24-hour digital channel, which launched in September 2005 along with the website (SproutOnline.com), is the only channel that follows the day of a preschooler from breakfast to bedtime with its distinctive, interactive programming and original hosted blocks. Sprout's VOD offering is the #1 on demand service for younger children with over one billion views.
Sprout is a partnership among NBCUniversal, PBS, Sesame Workshop and Apax Funds. Its program lineup of gold-standard, curriculum-based preschool shows includes: Sesame Street®, Bob the Builder™, Barney & Friends™, The Wiggles®, Caillou®, Pajanimals™, Thomas & Friends™, LazyTown™, and more.
SOURCE Learning Care Group, Inc.