February 28, 2013

The “Off to a Healthy Start” Initiative Provides Free Colorado Licensing Approved Teacher and Staff Training Available to All Colorado Child Care Providers

Thursday, February 28, 2013 – Early Learning Ventures (ELV) announced today that, through a collaboration between Exchange Press, Inc., Safeway Foundation and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Early Childhood: Division of Early Care and Learning, it is offering a free, licensing-approved video training series to all center-based and home child care providers. Made possible by a grant from the Safeway Foundation totaling $97,800, the training series is designed to combat childhood obesity which is at an all-time high.

Although Colorado is considered one of the nation’s healthiest states, Colorado’s obesity rate among children is rising faster than those in all but one other state.  The “Off to a Healthy Start” initiative will seek to reverse this perilous trend.  The driver in this initiative is a high quality, comprehensive video training series, “Preventing Obesity and Promoting Wellness,” produced by Exchange Press, Inc. 

According to Roger Neugebauer, President, Exchange Press, “This series includes the insights of over 80 national experts on health, nutrition, movement, and education as well as relevant video clips from over 30 child care programs from around the country.  It is comprised of 14 one-hour lessons on the science of obesity, movement and proper nutritional habits, and includes examples of movement and healthy nutrition activities. We are proud to be a part of this important initiative that will benefit young children and their families throughout the State of Colorado.”

CDHS Licensing Regulations require 15 hours of approved training each year for each teacher in an early care and education settings. This free training will provide 14 hours of that annual requirement. Each video lesson is 25-30 minutes. Teachers and staff at child care providers will then fill out the balance of the hour with discussion questions and/or activities to meet the one-hour requirement.

The DVD training series is being distributed this week to approximately 2,100 center-based child care providers throughout Colorado. Approximately 3,000 licensed family child care providers in Colorado will receive the training via online fulfillment.

“We are honored to partner with these outstanding organizations to offer this training in Colorado,” stated Judy Williams, ELV Program Director. “The DVDs and online version will provide training to help reverse the trend of increasing childhood obesity by promoting effective wellness and parent education initiatives in child care centers and family child care homes serving over 200,000 children in Colorado.”

“Safeway strongly believes that teaching health and wellness at an early age can make a huge difference in the quality of life for a child and can last throughout their lifetime,” said Al Duran, president of Safeway’s Denver Division.  “We are proud to support this initiative, which will provide important education to thousands of caregivers who have an incredible influence on Colorado children and their futures.” 

Early Learning Ventures is a Colorado not-for-profit organization, founded by the David and Laura Merage Foundation, that is committed to developing strong learning foundations through universal access to high-quality early care and education.  Utilizing a shared services approach, ELV brings together community-based networks comprised of small early care and education businesses (nonprofit or for profit) that work together to deliver services in a more streamlined and efficient way. This unique, custom-built model is designed specifically for the child care industry, and ensures fiscal stability and superior business operations – the foundation for delivering high quality early learning services. For more information on Early Learning Ventures, visit earlylearningventures.org.