UCLA Early Head Start program receives grant to enhance outdoor play for infants and toddlers
The Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS) has awarded a $5,000 grant to the UCLA Early Head Start program to improve the outdoor play space at the program's center located in Arleta.
The grant helped purchase age-appropriate playground equipment for infants and toddlers including tunnels, bridges, soft play tubs, and outdoor play mats to support outdoor experiences in physical activity.
The UCLA Early Head Start Program is a federally funded program that serves children from birth to three years of age and pregnant women. The program provides services to support optimal child health and development for young children and families living in poverty in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
"We appreciate Head Start Body Start for helping us evaluate our outdoor play space to support in educating children and families about the value of physical activity and playing outdoors," said Dr. Rachelle Tyler, director of the UCLA Early Head Start program and chief of pediatric developmental studies at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. "This grant will enable us to encourage families to increase their children's physical activity and enjoy active outdoor play."
In addition to the play space improvement, the UCLA Early Head Start program will have access to online courses, webinars and resource materials related to physical activity in children.
"Outdoor play is associated with greater amounts of physical activity in children and research has shown that opportunities for whole body exercise in early childhood have long-lasting positive influences on physical activity," added Hamida Askaryar, health services manager of the UCLA Early Head Start program. "Unfortunately children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation. We want to help our staff, children, and parents discover the developmental benefits of outdoor play and learn about the features of high quality outdoor play spaces that promote movement opportunities for children of all ability levels."
The Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS) serves early childhood professionals, caregivers, families and communities, helping them to create dynamic play/learning environments and promote physical activity throughout children's days. A collaboration between the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), HSBS is funded by a grant from the Administration for Children and Families.
The UCLA Early Head Start program is funded by the Administration for Children and Families which is a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. Staff members have backgrounds in child development, pediatrics, public health, nutrition and family services. Home visits and socialization sessions are provided to provide parents with information and support in their understanding and implementation of their crucial role in the health and development of their children, including opportunities to engage in age-appropriate physical activity. For more information on the UCLA Early Head Start program, please call (818) 485-0129.