Success Story for Jefferson County Early Head Start: Outdoor Physical Activity

“Our biggest challenge here is that our program relies on federal funding. It’s a finite amount and must stretch for the full year, so we have to use it to buy necessities. There’s rarely any left over to buy things like play equipment,” explained Melissa Morgan.
When a stipend opportunity from Nemours presented itself, it was easy for Melissa to choose a project around physical activity. “Many parents don’t have opportunities to engage in outdoor physical activity with their children because they live in unsafe neighborhoods,” says Melissa. “Early Head Start can provide that opportunity to children that they don’t have otherwise.
With the stipend, Melissa bought a variety of push and pull toys for the children to use on the playground. The equipment included wagons and shopping carts for the four- and three-year-olds, lawn mowers for the two- and one-year olds, and chomping alligator toys for those just learning how to walk.
Melissa says that the children were excited to see the new equipment and to learn how to use them. “Because we have new equipment for all the age groups, it’s helping the younger children learn how to walk and be active. And the older children love to put dolls in the wagons and grocery carts and push or pull them around the playground. It’s also made it more interesting for the teachers too.”
Information provided by interview with:
Melissa Morgan
Area Director/Head Teacher
395 E Washington Street
Monticello, FL

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