Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Updated September 17, 2013
First Lady, Michelle Obama's national health initiative, "Let's Move," encourages physical activity for children and adults. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services all Americans, including those with disabilities, need physical activity to support physical and emotional health. MAP's Hot Topic for Summer 2011, "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body," identifies resources and websites that provide strategies to support physical health and stress reduction with special attention to children and youth with disabilities.
An accessible playground means it is as easy as possible for everyone to play, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Now, more than ever, to meet ADA and due to community pressure, playgrounds are being built with an eye towards accessibility and usability. Let Kid's Play is thrilled to offer Accessibleplayground.net, the website and home for everything about accessible playgrounds. Here you will be able to:
- Search for playgrounds in our directory
- Educate yourself about accessible play
- Read amazing stories of how others built their playground
- Find resources on all aspects of designing and building a playground in your community, going beyond ADA
- See pictures of recommended playgrounds in our Featured Playground area
- Locate just the right vendors to help you design and build your playground
- Discovery Playground
Every Body Can! is a nationwide video contest that promotes, celebrates, or teaches adapted and inclusive physical activity while raising awareness about the opportunities for and accomplishments of people with disabilities.
Every Body Can! offers general and adapted physical educators and physical activity leaders of all kinds—teachers, university faculty, recreation leaders—ideas, inspiration, specific lessons, and support for increasing disability awareness and creating effective inclusive lessons and programs. Watch the videos of the winners of the 2011 contest. They'll open your eyes to all kinds of recreational opportunities for kids with disabilities.
An article from the Special Education Advisor.
California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 2 (PDF; 11MB) includes the domains of visual and performing arts, physical development, and health. This companion publication to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2, gives guidance to teachers about strategies for arranging the environment, selecting materials, and planning adult-led and child-initiated learning experiences that optimize children's development, learning, and overall well-being. The document is also available on the CDE website.
There is no single or simple solution to the childhood obesity epidemic, but learn what states, communities, and parents can do to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for children, adolescents, and their families.
This OSEP policy clarification document is an official initial response by the Department of Education to the June 2010 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO-10-519) report noted below. The 20-page report contains a summary of suggestions to increase physical education and extracurricular athletic opportunities for students with disabilities including: accessibility, equipment, personnel preparation, teaching styles, management of behavior, program options, curriculum and assessment strategies (e.g., assessment instruments that compare the individual against herself or himself are able to measure both attainment and growth).
Children and the outdoors just go together - naturally! Outdoor play fosters connections with nature for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, families, staff, and communities. The benefits of active play in the natural world are endless. Current research indicates that children who regularly play outdoors are healthier, smarter, and happier. So what are you waiting for? Let's expand those walls and take it outside!
As part of the ECLKC this website provides resources and information supporting Early Head Start professionals and families as well as anyone who works with children ages birth to three.
The online music service "Pandora." This fun new - and free - station targets parents and features music to encourage learning and physical activity Research shows that 90% of a child's brain develops during the first 5 years of life - a large part of that during the very first year. First 5's Pandora Station includes not only children's music but also examples of other ways to engage and stimulate children's brains -- clapping, dancing, singing, humming!
At Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS), we are dedicated to promoting physical activity, outdoor play and healthy lifestyles for young children and their families.
Our website is full of resources and ideas to help you bring active play and meaningful movement to your Head Start or early childhood program. Parents will also find activities and tools to inspire creative, movement-based play and healthy food choices at home.
The following is a list of Inclusive Playgrounds in California:
- Contra Costa: "Matteo's Dream"
- Fresno: Oso de Oro Lake Park
- Orange: Fun Orange County Parks
- Los Angeles: "Shane's Inspiration"
- Sacramento: Southside Park
- San Diego: Ivy Ranch Park Association
In the process of being built:
Stress is natural and can be inevitable. But stress can take a toll on your health and effectiveness as an early childhood educator or parent. It impacts the quality of care that you can give. When you are too stressed it is difficult to offer the praise, nurturance, and structure your children need.
This site provides:
- Downloadable booklets for parents and providers on how to identify sources of stress and strategies to reduce stress.
- Downloadable posters (12) on strategies to reduce stress
- Training Power Point to teach stress reduction techniques
- Relaxation Exercises recorded in English and Spanish
As research linking physical fitness to academic success continues to emerge teachers are coming up with creative ways to keep kids active during teaching time, instead of relying on recess and those ever-dwindling PE hours. Teachers say they find that using movement in the classroom doesn't just get the jitters out, but actually makes for better learning as well, because engaging students' bodies in turn activates their minds.
Ellyn Satter is an internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding. Practical, warm and empowering, Satter integrates her 40 years of experience in helping adults be more positive, organized and nurturing in caring for themselves and their children. She emphasizes competency rather than deficiency: providing rather than depriving: and trust rather than control. Her theoretically grounded and clinically sound methods allow the individual's own capacity for effective and rewarding food behavior to evolve.
Raising Children with Special Needs to be Competent Eaters begins September 2012. Past webinars including "Preventing Childhood Obesity" PowerPoints, handouts and videos are available on the website.
Let's Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Sure, this is an ambitious goal. But with your help, we can do it.
Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let's Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years, giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices, providing healthier foods in our schools, ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food and helping children become more physically active.
First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled Let's Move! Child Care in June 2011 as a new effort to work with child care providers to help our youngest children get off to a healthy start. The First Lady released a fact sheet and checklist [ Acrobat Required] that providers and parents can use as a tool to encourage healthy eating and physical activity and limit screen time for young children. The website, developed by Nemours, provides free, comprehensive resources and tools in Spanish and English.
- Resource Center
- Music: Color me Healthy Sing and Dance Music
- Spanish Resources
- Videos with Viewing: Motion Moments
The Motion Moments videos will show you a few simple ways to weave physical activity into your current early care and education program in either a child care center or family child care home working with infants, toddlers or preschoolers.
KEEN is a national, nonprofit volunteer-led organization that provides one-to-one recreational opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities developmental and physical disabilities at no cost to their families and caregivers. KEEN's mission is to foster the self-esteem, confidence, skills and talents of its athletes through non-competitive activities, allowing young people facing even the most significant challenges to meet their individual goals.
MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Education/Experience) helps children and adults with severe disabilities acquire more abilities (and independence) to sit, stand, walk and transition. This is achieved through instruction and adaptive equipment.
With these increased abilities, there is: 1) better health, 2) less burden for care providers to move or lift people, 3) more dignity, and 4) new opportunities for fuller participation and inclusion in family life, school and community. Life is no longer relegated to a bean bag, floor mat, wheelchair or bed.
- The Story of Tommy
- MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Education) at the Sacramento County Office of Education
MOVE is a research-based program shown to improve functional mobility skills and empower children and adults with severe physical disabilities to better direct their own lives.
Four school sites within the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Special Education Programs have been designated as Model Sites for the MOVE International Program and Curriculum for students with significant physical disabilities. SCOE is the first MOVE Model Site to be established in Northern California. As a MOVE Model Site, SCOE will implement the program throughout the county and serve as a demonstration and training site for this internationally acclaimed model
This easy to navigate website provides free original and traditional music as "Song of the Month" offerings archived by categories including Read & Sing Songs, Finger Plays & Counting, Instruments & Rhythm, and Languages & Literacy. The Languages & Literacy songs feature several songs with instructions for American Sign Language and a few in Spanish. Related activity pages and instructions for making simple instruments are also available.
Visit the NAEYC website for books encouraging physical activity for children including the latest Big Body Play: Why Boisterous, Vigorous and Very Physical Play is Essential to Children's Learning and Development by Frances M. Carlson.
- Q&A with the Author of Big Body Play, Frances Carlson
"As early childhood education professionals, we are entrusted with the responsibility of providing children with what best serves their developmental needs—and also the need of each child to have the very best possible childhood. What children learn during big body play—how to cooperate, lead, and follow—will serve them well, lifelong."
- Children's Music
- 10 Ways Baby's Learn When We Sing to Them
- Top 10 No Cost Toys for Infants Toddlers and Preschoolers
NCPAD is an information center, supported by a grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, concerned with physical activity and disability. Being physically active is good for every body. That's a message you will find many times on this site. Being active is an important part of getting and staying healthy. One 'must read' item on this website is our monograph on Can Disability, Chronic Conditions, Health and Wellness Coexist? in which author June Kailles discusses the common confusion people have about the relationship between having a disability and being healthy. Once you realize that EVERY BODY needs some activity to get and remain healthy, you will find we have a great many resources to help you find how YOU can participate. We have information and resources for EVERYONE, to allow people with disabilities to participate as fully as they wish, become as active as they wish
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans At-A-Glance: A Fact Sheet for Professionals is designed for busy professionals as a quick desk-side reference to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
These Guidelines are needed because of the importance of physical activity to the health of Americans, whose current inactivity puts them at unnecessary risk. The latest information shows that inactivity among American children, adolescents, and adults remains relatively high, and little progress has been made in increasing levels of physical activity among Americans.
New federal requirements define playground accessibility as a civil right. And under those rules, playgrounds built or altered after March 14, 2012, are required to have wheelchair-friendly surfaces and equipment that helps kids with physical challenges move around.
Shane's Inspiration is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "to create inclusive playgrounds and programs that unite children of all abilities." They provide a free forty-five minute webinar titled, The Power of Inclusive Play, that provides ideas on developing enriching outdoor opportunities for all children using your own outdoor space and items that are easily accessible. Shane's Inspiration Lunch Box is an awareness program that includes guides and materials for facilitating workshops as well as curriculum and resources to help in providing inclusive outdoor spaces in your program or playground.
SPARK is a research-based, public health organization of San Diego State University Research Foundation (disseminated by School Specialty, Inc.) dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness.
SPARK strives to improve the health of children, adolescents, and adults by disseminating evidence-based Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students.
See the Free Resources for:
See the inspiring story of brothers Conner and Cayden Long, who were the recipients of Sports Illustrated Kids 2012 SportsKids of the Year award. Although Cayden has cerebral palsy it hasn't stopped him from competing in triathlons with his older brother Conner.
Stress Free Kids® founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens and adults decrease stress, anxiety & anger. As a parent, bedtime meant two stressed filled hours trying to get our young son to sleep. Our daughter developed stress related night terrors and Lori herself became sick from anxiety. In an effort to help our own family, Lori created stories that would entertain our children while introducing research-based relaxation and stress management techniques.
Our books and CDs will introduce you and your children to the proven techniques of deep breathing, progressive muscular relaxation, visualizations, and affirmations/positive statements. This unique storytelling format has been embraced by psychologists, doctors, child life care specialists, yoga instructors, teachers, counselors, parents, and most importantly… children.
Excerpt from Head Start Bulletin by Beverly Gould
Yoga is an effective way to release stress because it stimulates both the mind and the body.
Until recently, when most people thought about yoga, they had images of being bent into a pretzel. However, the ancient practice of yoga, with a history of 5,000 years, is more than convoluted exercises. It improves our physical and emotional health. Movie stars, models, athletes, politicians, as well as everyday people, attest to its benefits. Furthermore, research affirms that yoga is a stress reducer.
Your resource for making healthy choices the easy choices! Research confirms the clear connection between health, learning, and attendance. In support of this, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, has initiated Team California for Healthy Kids (TCHK) to promote healthy eating and physical activity throughout the day, every day, in schools, before and after school programs, early childhood programs and communities.
Research has established that physical activity and participation in athletics provides important health and social benefits for children. Certain federal laws help ensure that kindergarten-12th grade schools provide students with disabilities opportunities to participate in physical education (PE) and extracurricular athletics equal to those of their peers. However, national associations have questioned whether students with disabilities receive opportunities similar to their peers. Regarding students with disabilities, Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to examine (1) what is known about the PE opportunities that schools provide, and how do schools provide these; (2) what is known about the extracurricular athletic opportunities that schools provide, and how do schools provide these; and (3) how the Department of Education assists states and schools in these areas. GAO analyzed federal survey data; reviewed relevant federal laws and regulations; and interviewed state, district, and school officials in selected states, as well as parents and disability association officials.
A 2003 study by California State University, Los Angeles found that yoga improved students' behavior, physical health and academic performance, as well as attitudes toward themselves. That same year, Leipzig University reported that yoga reduces feelings of helplessness and aggression, and in the long term helps emotional balance. The benefits of yoga are particularly strong among children with special needs, research shows. Read the article and watch the video.
Donna Freeman, the developer of this site explains the intent of Yoga In My School:
- to empower parents and teachers to access the benefits of yoga by providing a website which collects everything related to yoga for kids and teens
- to make yoga more accessible and answer your yoga questions
- to provide information about yoga – what it is, what it can do for you, how to do it
- to show how to make yoga a part of your children's/student's lives, and
- to introduce yoga to kids and teens, allowing them to have fun, explore, create, and benefit in tremendous ways from this ancient and fulfilling practice.
Watch the videos and explore the resources on this site as well as other resources in the "Yoga Links I Love" section of this website.