Early Ages Healthy Stages is gearing up to celebrate National Screen Free Week, May 1-7, 2017!
April 27, 2017
Celebrating National Screen Free Week: May 1-7, 2017
by Joan Spoerl
What if we turned off our televisions, computers, smart phones, hand-held devices and video games (except for necessary work) for seven straight days? Perhaps the following: better sleep, increased brain activity, live conversations, walks taken, gardens tended, homes repaired, books read, games played, creativity and exploration, and meaningful connections between families and friends.
Participate in Screen-Free Week, May 1-7, and see what happens! This year, Early Ages Healthy Stages will begin taking part in this national tradition that started in 1995. Join the millions of children and families around the world that will turn off screens and turn on life, by pledging to spend seven days without screens.
While screens can be helpful in many ways, research shows that there are many costs to too much screen time. Excessive screen time (more than two hours a day) is associated with sleep disturbances, attention span issues, psychological difficulties, hyperactivity, conduct problems, poor academic achievement, reduced physical activity, higher levels of aggression, delayed language acquisition, and childhood obesity.
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all for children under age 2 and less than two hours per day for children 2 and older, many American children spend more time in front of a screen than they do in school. Children who spend less time with screens in their early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, are more physically active and are better able to engage in schoolwork in later elementary school.
Here are just a few examples of things that your family can do instead of screens:
- Take a walk or ride bikes together. Talk about the things that you see along the way!
- Read a book (or two, or three!) together. Discuss the book’s characters and themes!
- Prepare dinner and share a healthy family meal together. Ask your family about their day!
- Write a short play and act it out for each other. Take time to get creative!
- Talk about your dreams. Share your goals and make plans for the future!
- Grow something in the garden. Learn about how things grow!
Visit, www.screenfree.org to take the pledge to go screen free! Check out our Online Resources page to start planning for your week without screens.
Let’s take this opportunity to explore your own ideas and creations, cherish the company of our loved ones, and appreciate the wonders that the real world has to offer. Happy un-plugging!
Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition Receives Three Year Funding from Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation
March 10, 2017
At our March 10th meeting, Early Ages Healthy Stages proudly announced that our grant proposal for Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation was approved and funded. The grant will double our current funding and provide the resources needed to keep our efforts going until March of 2020! Alison Patrick, Program Manager at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, shared the news with coalition members. The new funding cycle will support the hiring of a new Grant Coordinator and will specifically focus on four initiatives:
- Expansion of Ohio Healthy Programs through partnerships with other agencies and organizations that support early care and education providers. Over the next three years, we will provide training, technical assistance, and incentives to 65 new early care and education programs. We will also continue to support our current Ohio Healthy Programs with incentives and renewal application.
- Personnel and financial support to implement 2-3 chosen strategies from the Early Ages Healthy Stages Strategic Plan. Our coalition has been working hard to complete a community-driven, collaborative, strategic plan. We have identified strategies to improve healthy eating, active play, social emotional growth, health care access, and family engagement for young children. This new grant funding will also allow current EAHS staff to dedicate more time to bringing these strategies to life.
- Development and pilot of the “Health Champions” program- a new idea that will support early care and education providers to become the go-to health resource person in their community. EAHS is comprised of so many talented, passionate, and selfless providers that consistently go above and beyond to provide health opportunities for the children, families, and communities that they serve. This program will allow them to sharpen their skills and be recognized for the work that they do. Health Champions will include training, technical assistance, and a stipend for providers that participate. This pilot will fund 6 ECE providers to become official Health Champions in their respective communities and support them in bringing their passion for health to a wider audience.
- Presentations at state and national conferences to highlight the innovative work that we are doing. We are proud of the work that we accomplish together and want other people to know it! Over the next three years we will work to evaluate our initiatives and share our successes. We hope that by engaging a state and national audience, we will be expand and improve our work, while supporting others efforts to make an impact in their community.
With our new grant cycle starting on March 1, 2017, we are excited to get to work making our dreams a reality. Thank you to our coalition members and the generous support of Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation for your continued dedication to the health and wellbeing of Cuyahoga County’s young children.
Updates from our March Coalition Meeting
March 16, 2017
Early care and education administrators Cheryl Johnson (Education With Imagination Child Development Center) and Arlene Porter (Buckeye Head Start CEOGC) receive banners from Alison Patrick (Cuyahoga County Board of Health) for their effort in becoming Designated Ohio Healthy Programs.
Members of the Early Ages Healthy Stages Coalition at our March meeting at Cuyahoga County Board of Health on March 10, 2017
EAHS coalition members Katie Utrata (Help Me Grow), Ava Lucky (Early Childhood Options) and Arlene Porter (Buckeye Head Start CEOGC) work together to create strategies to improve opportunities for active play for young children. In the background, Victoria Davis (Moms First) and Akanni Thomas (Starting Point) develop strategies to support family engagement around early childhood health and wellness.
Abbie Klein (Starting Point), Shari Nacson (Caring Cubs), and Jill Lemmerman (City of Cleveland Recreation Department) discuss ways that Early Ages Healthy Stages can work together to promote social emotional development for young children in Cuyahoga County.