Learning Care Group Joins Partnership for a Healthier America to Create Healthier Early Childcare Environments
Leading childcare provider commits to implement nutrition and physical activity standards that align with Let’s Move! Child Care goals
WASHINGTON, DC (February 27, 2014)— Learning Care Group today joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the childhood obesity epidemic, to announce healthier choices at 900 schools across the country. As part of its commitment, Learning Care Group’s schools – Childtime, Tutor Time, The Children’s Courtyard, La Petite Academy and Montessori Unlimited – will implement standards that align with Let’s Move! Child Care goals for physical activity, screen time, food, beverages, infant feeding and parent engagement.
To highlight this announcement, First Lady Michelle Obama visited La Petite Academy in Bowie, Maryland, a member of the Learning Care Group family, where she engaged in physical activity and ate healthy snacks with children at the center.
“Healthier eating and regular physical activity are becoming the new norm for children across the country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I am thrilled about Learning Care Group’s new commitment to implement best practices in schools across our country to instill healthy habits in our children from a young age.”
Working with PHA, Learning Care Group will implement nutrition and physical activity policies guided by the Wellness Child Care Assessment Tool, which was developed by childhood obesity experts at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the Harvard School of Public Health. Nemours, a children’s health system and leader in transforming childcare nationwide, also will assist Learning Care Group with the implementation of its commitment.
Across its brands, Learning Care Group is committing to serve fruits and/or vegetables at a minimum of two eating occasions per day; eliminating fried foods; encouraging water consumption; and providing at least one hour of physical activity throughout the day. Additionally, the group will work with parents and caregivers around limiting children to no more than one hour of screen time per day, informing them about healthy eating and physical activity through materials and events, and accommodating mothers who wish to breastfeed during the day.
“Learning Care Group is building on its strong commitment to encouraging healthier habits in children by implementing standards across its centers that make healthy choices even easier for kids to make,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “We applaud its leadership and contribution to moving the childcare industry as a whole toward healthier practices.“
“We were so honored to have First Lady Michelle Obama with us today at La Petite Academy as we reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring a healthy environment for all of the young children in our care,” said Learning Care Group CEO Barbara Beck. “Through our internal Grow Fit initiative, we’ve made healthy living a daily part of our school culture. Now, together with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Let’s Move! Child Care, we’re providing a solid foundation for lifelong fitness for children nationwide.”
Specifically, over the next three years, Learning Care Group is committing to:
1. Physical Activity: Providing at least one hour of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible in 85% of centers within 18 months and 95% of centers within 3 years.
2. Screen Time:
Eliminating screen time for children under two years in 85% of centers within 18 months and 95% of centers within 3 years.
Working with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than 1 hour of quality screen time per day in 85% of centers within 18 months and in 95% of centers within 3 years from the effective date of this agreement.
Serving ½ cup fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and snack, or a minimum of two eating occasions per day in 85% of centers within 18 months and in 95% of centers within 3 years.
Eating meals family–style when possible in 85% of centers within 18 months and in 95% of centers within 3 years.
Not serving fried food in 100% of centers within 18 months.
For children over two years of age, serving unflavored low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk in 85% of centers within 18 months and in 95% of centers within 3 years.
For children over two years of age two, serving no more than one 4-ounce serving of 100% juice per day and/or low sodium vegetable juice in 85% of centers within 18 months and in 95% of centers within 3 years from the effective date of this agreement.
Providing access to free, potable water during meals and throughout the day in 100% of centers within 18 months.
Not serving beverages with any synthetic food dyes, stimulants (e.g., caffeine) and other additives or added nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners in 100% of centers within 18 months.
5. Infant Feeding: For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, allow for the provision of mother’s milk for their children, and accommodate mothers who wish to breastfeed during the day in 85% of centers within 18 months and in 95% of centers within 3 years.
6. Parent Engagement: Engage parents and caregivers using informational material and/or activities focused on healthy eating and physical activity a minimum of 3 times per year in 100% of centers within 18 months.
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
Headquartered in Novi, Mich., Learning Care Group provides early education and child care services to children ages 6 weeks to 13 years within its portfolio of brands: The Children’s Courtyard, Childtime Learning Centers, La Petite Academy, Montessori Unlimited and Tutor Time Child Care/Learning Centers. Learning Care Group operates more than 900 schools (corporate and franchise) across 36 states, the District of Columbia and internationally, and has a system-wide capacity to serve nearly 130,000 children. For more information, please visit www.learningcaregroup.com