On Wednesday, preschoolers at The Goddard School in Jackson Township and Highland Heights, along with over 460 other Goddard School locations nationwide, kicked off the 7th annual Root for Earth initiative. While the children learn about eco-friendly topics throughout the year, this week especially celebrates learning about the environment and what it means to be a good environmental steward.
During Root for Earth, preschoolers engage in a range of activities including harvesting vegetables, creating art projects with items found in nature, and other eco-friendly projects inspired by STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). These projects foster creativity and imagination while giving children the opportunity to learn about recycling, going green and preserving the world around them, according to The Goddard School.
A signature of Root for Earth, “Lights Out!” will take place Friday, April 21 — the day before Earth Day. Every Goddard School across the country will shut off all non-essential lighting for an hour beginning at 10:00 a.m. local time. System-wide, the Lights Out initiative will save roughly 3.4 million watts of energy.
“We began planning our Root for Earth Campaign by planning to incorporate recyclable materials into our daily activities during the month of April,” said Kelley Coles, director of education at The Goddard School in Jackson Township. “Out of all the materials explored, many children showed interest in cardboard, especially after building various cardboard projects in many classrooms.”
When planning its schoolwide project, the teachers and children decided between an outdoor pizza oven and an indoor kitchen set (both made of cardboard) that could rotate classrooms, she added. Currently, the completed set is on display in the school foyer.
The Goddard School in Highland Heights participated in the following activities:
- Pre-School 1 will be building with recycled boxes and painting with bottle caps.
- Pre-K 2 is creating Earth-shaped collages with recycled materials.
- Young Pre-K is making bird feeders with recycled toilet paper tubes.
- Infants will be exploring their sensory bottles made out of recycled water bottles.
- First Steps will be coloring with apples.
According to Buckeye Health Plan, establishing a relationship with a pediatrician is the first step parents can make for the health of their children. The company offers the following facts and tips as part of Every Kid Healthy Week, which takes place April 24-28.
Thousands of Ohio’s children do not receive the preventative care they need to be healthy now and into adulthood. Only one in three children in the United States is physically active every day, and one in five school-aged children (ages 6-19) is obese, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Ohio’s children face an uphill battle when it comes to their health. According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio:
- Ohio ranks 46th out of 50 states on health value. This means that Ohioans are living less healthy lives and spend more on health care than people in most other states.
- Ohio’s 2015 infant mortality rate was 7.2 per 1,000, which is 24 percent higher than the national rate and up from 6.8 percent the year before.
- Ohio’s suicide rate for children ages 10-14 has now surpassed the death rate from traffic accidents among this age group.
- Infant drug withdrawal has spiked in rural counties — the rate has climbed from about 1 in 1,000 births in 2004 to almost 8 per 1,000 births in 2013.
- State immunization requirements are not being met — on average, 8.5 percent of new students in Ohio didn’t have complete vaccinations by mid-October of 2015.
- Ohio ranks sixth in the nation for the highest rate of food insecurity (households facing uncertainty or limited ability to provide food) and ranks highest in the region. Food insecurity impacts educational achievement, health outcomes and productivity.
These and other issues point to the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s health.
According to Dr. Brad Lucas, medical director for Buckeye Health Plan, taking an active role doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Developing a strong relationship with your child’s pediatrician is a great start. Buckeye encourages parents to schedule well-child visits and talk to their pediatrician about their child’s health on a regular basis.
“Pediatricians are in the best position to assess and guide a child’s health plan,” says Lucas. “They are not just looking at a child’s physical symptoms, but looking at all aspects that could have an impact on a child’s health.”
Healthy Kids Start with Well-Child Visits
Regularly scheduled well-child visits allow your child to become familiar and comfortable with health care professionals. They also allow your pediatrician to get to know and understand your child, which helps them provide the best care and preventative recommendations. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are many benefits of well-child visits:
- Prevention: Well-child visits include scheduled immunizations, which can protect infants from 14 serious childhood diseases such as whooping cough, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus and chickenpox.
- Tracking growth and development: Make the most of your child’s check-up. Always bring a list of concerns or topics to discuss with the pediatrician. This list can cover physical, mental, language and social skills and whether your child is reaching developmental milestones on schedule.
- Team approach: Regular visits create a trusting relationship among the pediatrician, parent and child, which helps develop the best physical, mental and social health of the child.
— Submitted by Buckeye Health Plan, which offers rewards as part of its “Start Smart for Your Baby” and “Be Well!” programs that encourage members to take an active role in their child’s health care. The programs include incentives that reward Buckeye members for their healthy activities (such as $100 for infant well-care visits or up to $100 for adolescent well-care visits for those 12-21 years old. Call 866-246-4358 or visit www.buckeyehealthplan.com for more information.