EatPlayGrow Makes a Difference
“As a new early childhood educator, I always wonder how impactful the program will be in the lives of our participants,” said Amani Allen, EatPlayGrow Health Educator.
Every Saturday one three-year-old boy and his family was always the first to arrive and always the last to leave the classroom. I remember his first session very vividly; the young boy was extremely shy and anxious and did not like speaking in front of the class. He never left his mother’s side during that first day of programming. After that first day, his mother, who seemed somewhat embarrassed, explained that this was her son’s first time in a classroom setting. She hoped that through this eight-week EatPlayGrow program, her son would gain the confidence and skills needed for preschool the following fall.
Week after week, the family arrived ten minutes early and left ten minutes after everyone else. With every week, the young boy became more open to conversing with the others in the class and me. He quickly fell in love with the art projects and science experiments that we incorporated into the curriculum. Using objects like scissors and glue became almost second nature to him, and his mother’s lap was no longer needed for him to get through lessons. By the end of the program his mother and father told us that he chanted phrases like “Go, Slow, and Whoa!” and would often discuss various concepts learned while at the dinner table. He would remind his family that they should be eating Go foods instead of Whoa foods, and when he didn’t know what category, a food fell under, he would ask his mom. By the end of the program, he came to class with a smile on his face, rather than the dreaded expression he wore that first week.
What I learned from this experience is that even the smallest thing in my mind may make the world of difference to these young children. Even if it’s just having a better understanding of how to hold scissors or knowing the simple difference between a fruit and a vegetable, it all has an impact and will prepare them for what is next. After months of not knowing if I would be able to present the information in a way that would produce a successful outcome, I finally had my answer; my work was making a difference, one Go, Slow, Whoa at a time!
EatPlayGrow teaches children ages birth to five and their caregivers about healthy habits through storytelling, art, music, and movement. Children play and learn about Smart Sleep, Fabulous Fruits, Energy Balance, Healthy Beverages, and more! Learn more and find the schedule here.
EatPlayGrow is provided at no cost to residents of Kent County and is made possible by the generosity of Kent County taxpayers and the voter-approved Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage.