A group of lively preschoolers dance and sway to music while waving brightly colored scarves. For Andrea Williams and the children in her programs, it’s more than a fun way to get moving. It’s an intentional teaching practice.
Andrea Williams is the early childhood coach for the Washington Elementary School District’s Kid Space Program, a center-based program with locations enrolled in Quality First in the First Things First Phoenix North region. First Things First is Arizona’s early childhood agency, and funds Quality First to help early care and education providers improve the quality of their programs.
We recently caught up with Williams, who worked with her Quality First child care health consultant to launch some exciting new practices. Using the “I am Moving, I am Learning” training and resources has made a big difference in the ways children learn in her programs.
A child care health consultant (CCHC) is a health professional who provides high-quality recommendations and support to early care and education providers through education and identifying site-specific health and safety needs.
Tell us about I am Moving, I am Learning. How is your program using this?
I am Moving, I am Learning was a great training that staff from multiple sites attended. This has provided an additional resource or “tool” for our toolbox in incorporating physical activity and movement into our programs. Sites use this to enhance their music and movement time, to encourage teacher directed activities (because it is so easy to implement), and to build confidence in moving with the children.
What has been the biggest benefit of using I am Moving, I am Learning?
The biggest benefit has been the ability to immediately implement and that the teachers have fun moving through the songs and activities as well.
What made you decide to implement these new practices?
Our programs work consistently with Marnie, our child care health consultant, to establish best practices regarding health and safety. We are always excited when new trainings and resources come out to promote any health and safety practice in our programs.
I am Moving, I am Learning has helped support continued implementation of adult-led physical activity, which is vital to ensuring our students get to move their bodies in active and appropriate ways throughout the day.
Where did you get the idea, and what resources did you need? Who helped you put your plan into action?
Marnie let us know about the opportunity and helped us put the plan in place. The music CD and the scarves that were presented at the training were the only tangible things we needed to be able to implement immediately.
How does I am Moving, I am Learning improve the quality of your program?
The kids have been very receptive to feeling their heart beat, and noticing when it is beating fast, and how it settles after being active.
It has led to expanded conversations about being physically active, eating healthy foods to fuel our bodies, and listening to what our bodies are telling us.
What would you tell a colleague who is considering doing something similar?
Do It! Give it a try and have fun. This is so great to implement because you have the resource with the CD to guide you and your class as well as the ability to expand and be creative with the topics and materials to meet your needs.
Interested in getting started?
If you’re a Quality First participant, contact your child care health consultant for support with I am Moving, I am Learning or other physical activity resources.
Not in Quality First?
Check out I am Moving, I am Learning (IMIL) and visit our application page to apply to Quality First today. Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center hosts a wealth of resources on this training, supplemental materials and related tools to support physical activity and learning.
At Quality First, we love to hear from you! Share your new and innovative practices so others can be inspired. Email us at QualityFirst@FirstThingsFirst.org.