Little Achiever’s Learning Center: Robbie L. Willis Family Child Care Home
Site Administrator: Robbie L. Willis; Cleveland Heights, OH
- Why does early childhood wellness matter to you?
The philosophy of Little Achiever’s Learning Center is to ensure the whole development of all children to thrive within their community and environment. By providing quality childcare, I support the philosophy to enhance social, emotional, physical, language and literacy, and cognitive skills of all children. These goals are met by having a mission statement, health and safe learning environment, technology, healthy food, physical exercise, and community engagement. The overall wellness of children matters to me because children are our future and we have to equip them with the tools and skills they need to thrive. These tools are not just limited to education but also life skills that are given to them by different experiences. These experiences include attending family fun day, the Cleveland Orchestra, the little library, MOCA, Playhouse square, Dance class, Botanical garden etc.
- What motivated you to become a designated Ohio Healthy Program?
OHP’s passion for making and keeping children healthy is something I also embody. The philosophy of OHP really stood out to me, with focuses on healthy eating and nutrition. I was able to implement the physical activity and screen time policy and the family engagement policy with in my own childcare facility. The health of children plays a huge role in their development; healthy eating will promote positive mental and physical growth.
- How is your program changed since becoming involved with Early Ages Healthy Stages?
After being involved in Early Ages Health, my program has changed in several different ways:
- Whole grain bread daily
- Water and milk only
- Limit fried foods to no more than once a week
- Physical Activity and Screen Time
- 60 minutes of developmentally appropriate activities
- Family engagement policies
- Newsletter includes healthy receipt and fruit of the month
- Each year survey to be completed by parents
- What information would you like to share with parents who are not familiar with Ohio Healthy Programs?
I have some information that I would think is very helpful for parents who are not familiar with OHP:
- The two bite rule book will encourage children to taste foods before saying no to new foods
- Have the child to assist in kitchen and exploring different menus
- Take your child to the grocery store to pick out his or her favorite healthy treats
- Have weekly food conversations with your child
- What is your proudest moment as an Ohio Healthy Program?
My proudest moment in the program is having seen the excitement on my children’s faces when they learn about healthy habits and nutrition. One thing that my children love to do is gardening. The children currently enrolled in my program are able to name all the vegetables that are growing in our garden. The children also want to taste everything that is grown in the garden rather its ready for eating or not. This brings me to my next proud moment of the children asking for seconds on brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, and eggplants. I consider this one of my proudest moments because brussel sprouts are my favorite food!
(A note from EAHS: Robbie Willis was featured in a panel discussion for the Ohio Early Childhood Health Network on August 23, 2016 about the successes of Cuyahoga’s early childhood health initiatives. Robbie spoke passionately to Network members state-wide about the value of healthy eating, active living, and gardening in early learning environments.)