Jennifer Hockensmith, Sr. Program Director of Child Development, Hanover YMCA Early Learning Center, Hanover, Pennsylvania
A lot of the staff members at the Early Learning Center were not physically active. Jennifer was worried about their health.
She decided to pose a fitness challenge to the staff. She knew the challenge had to be small and achievable—at least to start. Jennifer turned to the Toddler Teacher, who had a background in physical fitness.
How They Did It
The teacher developed a three-month plan for the Learning Center staff. Each week she set an activity goal and a hydration goal. Staff members were to work out in the cardio/weight room on their breaks and would meet on Saturdays for either a class or more cardio work. Their weekly results were posted on a bulletin board.
A perfect score! The teaching team achieved 100 percent of their weekly goals. Jennifer was so impressed, she successfully lobbied the CEO to reward the teachers with an extra day of paid vacation.
The fitness challenges have helped teachers to reduce stress levels, improve their physical strength, establish healthy heating habits, and lose weight. Although the challenge has ended, the teachers continue to work out and support one another in their fitness goals. They also engage in more physical activity with the children in their classrooms.
On Jennifer’s Wish List
- Money to enroll the teaching team in an online fitness challenge such as Wellspan’s “10 Pound Throwdown.” Participants can earn badges and take a virtual trip across the U.S. or the world.
- Collaboration with a nutritionist to educate both teachers and children on healthy food choices.