Several weeks ago, the Smith family enrolled their four-year-old son, Trevor, in the Cute Kiddies Early Education Center. Trevors teacher, Mrs. Jones, has observed that Trevor does not like to participate in activities that involve running, climbing, jumping, or more than minimal physical movement. When presented with toys such as a ball or mitt, Trevor seems clumsy and unsure of how to use them, making him reluctant to play with the other children outdoors. Furthermore, Trevor appears to be overweight for his age and height. His parents often send him to school with his lunch bag full of snacks, such as cheese puffs and sugary drinks. During Mrs. Jones initial interview with Trevors family, Mr. and Mrs. Smith mentioned that Trevor spends most of his free time playing hand held video games and watching cartoons. The Smiths said they would like to spend more time with Trevor playing outdoors, but their work schedules make this very challenging. As a childcare provider, Mrs. Jones must be cognizant of religious beliefs, cultural practices, and other general health concerns such as diabetes. Take this into consideration when responding to the case study questions below. What can the school do to address the concerns?There is little that can be done. The first three years of a childs life are critical. The nature/nurture question has plenty of research backing the fact that brain synapses form in the first three years of life and if the environment is showing a diet and fitness foundation as is stated, the only hope left is peer pressure. When most kids at the same age love to engage in the activities indicated, usually others like to copy. But one cant force a child to do the lesson plans. It is hoped that the family and center would talk first to ensure that the site is a good fit. If the child had to stay there and working with them is possible, sharing verbally and/or in writing the philosophy of the center in the area of fitness and nutrition would be a sensible direction. Also, suggesting a small moderation at the beginning with hopes of more later is an idea but if after small alternate activities no change evolves, finding a more suitable alternative is one option.Another option is to allow the child to do what he chooses with hopes that eventually he will choose to following the more healthy direction.It is not the military and preschool children should not be forced to do all things some adults might find appropriate.Good luckSincerely,Lisa Johnson, MSA, CHES
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