We know parent engagement parent, involvement, parent contribution – are all important concepts in promoting health and wellness of young children. Healthy Start made no exception in developing its evidenced based programming for early learning settings, by including a parent awareness component.
But how do we best engage parents – who we know are busy working, taxiing kids to their activities and just trying to balance life in general? How do we as health promoters, ensure there is a seamless transition of healthy behaviours from the centre to the home and vice versa? How can we encourage more healthy choices at home and in the centre!?
Healthy Start will tackle this important issue over the next three years. The initiative will have a chance to build upon its program and pilot some great new ideas to engage parents in more physical activity and healthy eating with their young children. So where do we start? Healthy Start aims to link to already existing, evidence-based programs and models. We will learn and adapt a few of the following:
- Healthy Together – parent and child workshops, based out of Kelowna, BC. Learning healthy behaviours together is their claim to fame! The Bridge Youth and Family Services Society: Healthy Weights Together
- MEND SK (Mind Education Nutrition Do it!) developed in the UK, this local, fun, and interactive family programming targets parents and 2-4-year-old children.
- Healthy Start collaborations will occur with various early years and community stakeholders, Family Resource Centres in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick in both French and in English to help deliver future Healthy Start family wellness programming
- To pilot a physical activity & parent program based on the 30-30-30 SK in motion project with the U of S College of Kinesiology, U of S.
Some other ideas we will be exploring are the development of HSDS back-packs adapted to LEAP resources that can be shared by centres, preschools or family centres and could potentially be incorporated in the public Library system. We are also interested in testing various projects that touch underserved and diverse populations, in rural and urban settings for parents and children. In the meantime, HSDS will continue to connect with parents through the HSDS newsletter and in social media (Facebook and Twitter). Please follow us and stay tuned as we begin this important parent engagement work in Phase 3 of the project, as soon as April of this year!