Discover: CATCH (“Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health”) Early Childhood is a program delivered through the JCC Association, the leadership network for the JCC Movement, the aim of which is to enrich the lives of young children, their families, and our faculty while working toward establishing healthy eating and physical activity habits. Developing these healthy habits early in life should lead to making healthy nutrition and activity choices later on.
At the JCC School for Young Children we began implementation of this dynamic program with a one-day teacher workshop in June with the objective of incorporating specially designed, developmentally appropriate, physically active, and fun games and activities into the daily curriculum. Teachers and Coach Randy are currently implementing lessons designed so that children move and stretch their muscles and raise their heart rate through music and movement and playing games in the classroom, on the playground and during their time with Coach Randy. Teachers also talk with children during about “Go Foods” and “Whoa Foods” with the intention of cultivating a strong foundation for children to make nutritional choices that are good for their bodies.
Jewish values play an integral role, since Jewish tradition places great emphasis on taking care of one’s physical health – Sh’mirat HaGuf – as well as spiritual condition. “Our bodies are gifts from the Creator,” said Mark Horowitz, director of early childhood and family engagement at JCC Association, “and it is our responsibility to keep them in good working order.”
Discover: CATCH Early Childhood is based on the CATCH afterschool program developed at the University of Texas. The evidence-based program has proven successful in combating childhood obesity, a critical health problem among American children. Discover: CATCH Early Childhood is now offered exclusively in 32 JCCs across North America, and is recognized as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. For more information on Discover: CATCH, contact Alissa Levey Baugh, Director of Curriculum/Creative Experiences.