Provider Health Spotlight on the Kennedy Child Study Center (KCSC)

February 17, 2017


Kennedy Child Study Center, New York, NY

The Problem

The center is located in an East Harlem community with the highest obesity rate in New York City. Many KCSC families and staff have high rates of obesity and diabetes.

The Solution

Introduce a Healthy and Active Living Program (HALP) for children, families, and staff.

How They Did It

KCSC has the distinction of being one of the country’s first special education schools. It serves children who experience significant delays in learning and other areas of early childhood development.

Through HALP, the Center has introduced programs that promote physical mental, and emotional well-being. The staff receives training in yoga, nutrition, cooking, and family-style dining. There is an active parent education program that reinforces the concepts through workshops and cooking labs. For the students, there are cooking and gardening classes – one step in establishing an early love of healthy and locally grown foods.

The Results

­­­­­The students have become more aware of healthy foods and new forms of physical activity. Center teachers and staff are benefiting from exposure to new wellness activities for the classroom and home, including mindfulness activities and yoga.

On KCSC’s Wish List

More money to fund the HALP programming. If the center can raise the funding, it will resume its assisted playdate program, where staff travel to students’ homes on weekends to help parents engage with their special needs children in healthy physical play.


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Krista Scott

Written by Krista Scott

Krista Scott is an experienced child health expert working at the forefront of policy, advocacy and equity as the current Senior Director for Child Care Health Policy at CCAoA. For over 15 years, Ms. Scott has worked in public health and education, primarily in non-profit and government agencies, where she has honed her expertise in early childhood health, mental health, special education, program development and support and in using policies to strengthen practice. Ms. Scott has her bachelor’s degree in political science and her Master of Social Work with a focus on management and policy.