Why Choose the YMCA?
Healthy U is a collaborative partnership between the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey with the goal of combating childhood obesity through nutrition education, physical education and family involvement.
The after school program has been a part of Healthy U since 2008. The goal is to promote healthy habits that can last a lifetime by demonstrating, and learning about the importance of, physical activity and good nutrition.
Healthy U launched in 2012 in our preschool-age programs. Our preschoolers experience games and physical activities that provide an environment for success in skill development and exercise. This program also provides parents with valuable tips and suggestions for use at home.
Healthy U also has a school-based program which the Y helps implement. Westfield’s Washington and Jefferson Elementary schools began incorporating Healthy U in the schools in the 2013-14 school year, McKinley (Westfield) and Lincoln Schools (Garwood) launched in the 2014-15 school year, and Deerfield (Mountainside) in the 2015-16 school year. Cranford’s Orange Avenue and Hillside Avenue schools incorporated Healthy U in the 2018-19 school year.
In New Jersey, 1 in 3 school age children are either overweight or obese. These children risk developing serious health problems in adulthood. Through the Healthy U program, we can make a positive impact on youth and families. The goal is to prevent and reduce obesity in children through physical activity and nutrition behaviors, and strong parental involvement.
Children are engaged with their teachers in a program framework called Creative Curriculum. Creative Curriculum is an early childhood development approach that is rooted in educational philosophy and theory as well as in practice.
- Literacy: Includes seven components: increased vocabulary; phonological awareness; knowledge of letters and words; comprehension; understanding of books; and literacy as a sense of enjoyment
- Mathematics: Children use a variety of math related toys, tools and games.
- Science: Young children love science and learning about the world around them–includes physical, life and earth science components.
- Social Studies: Our social studies program is the study of people and how they relate to geography, how they live, the environment around them and past events.
- Arts: Art is designing, creating and exploring. We include dance, music, theater and visual arts such as painting and clay.
- Technology: You’ll find children in our early childhood program using a variety of tools, both for play and for real.
- Healthy Habits: It’s critical to help young children develop lifelong healthy habits. We model good eating habits in our centers and offer a variety of physical activities.
- Social, Moral and Spiritual Development: Our staff celebrates and encourages the values of love, respect, honesty, responsibility and diversity.
Parent involvement is necessary to the success of any child care education program. Therefore, parents are always welcome to visit the program without prior notice. Staff will take every opportunity to share verbally with you information about your child at the beginning and end of the day and over the phone or during annual parent-teacher conferences. Staff will also communicate through daily information sheets, curriculum plans, and newsletters.
We encourage parents to volunteer any time and talents they may have. We also encourage parents to attend Parent Committee Meetings which supports staff, problem solves, evaluate changes, plans special events, and conduct special projects. Throughout the year, we schedule classroom and program events to help families have fun together and meet other families.
Families are invited to actively participate in the program by volunteering their time or skills. It is vital for families to become involved in their child’s experience at the Y; so many opportunities are designed during the year for family participation. This kind of participation is supportive of the children, as well as the teaching program. Parents are encouraged to be involved directly in the child’s classroom.
Ask your teacher or the Director how to get involved!