“I am very proud of my teachers. Being active has become a way of life in the classroom.”
— Liz Snyder, Director
Mary Linsmeier Schools, Milwaukee
When Liz Snyder became the Director of Mary Linsmeier Schools in Milwaukee, they were halfway into their participation in Active Early 2.0. Liz admits she was initially concerned about the additional equipment and time needed to continue incorporating Active Early 2.0 requirements into her program. But she was determined, with her teachers, to make it happen.
Guided by her Technical Consultant, Karen Narlow, and SFTA Early Childhood Program Specialist Abbe Braun, Liz worked with her staff to “revamp” the way they used their classroom and transition times to make them more active. With the $5,000 Active Early 2.0 grant they received the program purchased tools, materials, and equipment to make staying active more fun.
“Children love the movement areas,” emphasizes Liz, “They are some of our most popular spaces.”
They have yoga mats and posters illustrating poses children can try, multi-colored “stepping stones” for children to move, sort, and jump along, and a kid-sized bean bag toss. But staff goes beyond providing these tools for children to keep moving. Staff are now an active part of—well, staying active!
“I have seen a change in my teachers,” says Liz “They are more involved in being up and moving with the kiddos. They are being excellent role models.”
One of the program’s quality improvement goals for family engagement focused on a Halloween Health Fair Costume Party. Children and their families were invited for a healthy candy-alternative celebration of Halloween. Children “trick-or-treated” to each classroom to brush a giant set of teeth and win a toothbrush and toothpaste, complete an obstacle course, or learn to make hummus and homemade tortilla chips. Each activity promoted a healthy, active lifestyle.
“It was a great opportunity to show the parents how Active Early works,” says Liz. “And we had great participation with over 20 families that came.”
While earning her Early Childhood Administrator Credential, Liz even created a website about her program’s implementation of Active Early 2.0 and the Health Fair, for parents to explore. Liz plans to make the Health Fair an annual event as a way to sustain their efforts to stay active.
“We want to continue being good role models,” says Liz. “And it’s fun!”
Funding for Active Early 2.0 was provided by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.