CLEVELAND—The Vitamix Foundation today announced a collaborative grant to three institutions working to create and evaluate an online professional development module for early learning educators called “An ECE Professional’s Impact: Nourish Yourself/Create Healthy Futures.”
The four-hour module will help early care and education professionals enhance their personal health and wellbeing, in turn boosting their effectiveness in serving as a role model for the children they teach.
Better Kid Care (a program of Pennsylvania State University in collaboration with Deborah Lewison-Grant, executive director of FoodFight NYC), The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, and The Centers for Families and Children in Cleveland are all recipients of the $137,601 grant. Better Kid Care will develop and distribute the module, which will be piloted at The Centers for Families and Children’s seven early-learning sites. The UTHealth School of Public Health team, led by Shreela V. Sharma, Ph.D., will then undertake an evaluation of the pilot.
“There are a number of reasons this module focuses on early learning education professionals and not on the curriculum they’re teaching,” said Carolyn Hightower, director of the Vitamix Foundation. “These educators are a critical role model for the children and a critical interface with a child’s parents and guardians. We know from previous studies that there are opportunities to improve the health status and knowledge of these educators.”
“This module recognizes the challenges they face and seeks to engage them in a positive journey to improve their own health. Because they are role models, this information should have a positive impact in helping the children they teach develop healthy lifestyles at an early age.”
Once it has been evaluated and approved, the module will be distributed to early care and educational professionals across the U.S. through Better Kid Care.