ymca of metro atlanta preschool programs



The Start For Life program is available at all YMCA early learning centers and works to improve the health of young children by promoting an appreciation for a healthy, physically active lifestyle into adulthood.

About the program

Developing healthy habits and keeping kids active with the Start for Life program.

All early learning centers currently offer Start For Life (SFL), a program developed for children ages 3 to 5 that consists of a series of 24 lesson plans (20 outside lesson plans and 4 inside lesson plans).

SFL is administered by early learning teachers during the school day in 30 minute sessions five days per week. It provides a variety of fun activities to help build strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility. In addition, a series of self-management and skill-building exercises are used to reinforce healthy behaviors over time.

Since starting in the 2012-2013 academic school year, more than 6,000 children have participated in the Start For Life program.

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How it works

Providing a unique approach to physical activity in preschool-age children.

1 Start For Life (SFL) incorporates evidence-based behavioral skills such as long- and short-term goal setting, progress monitoring, and breath control within its physical activity setting. These skills can then be “carried over” to academic and other life tasks.

2 In a series of four published studies, it demonstrated positive effects on not only meeting governmental recommendations for daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but also attaining/maintaining each child’s optimal body mass index (BMI) for health.

3 SFL engages teachers in the physical activity process with their students. Since physical activity is the best predictor of sustained weight loss, it has already demonstrated such progress in teachers.

4 SFL offers ongoing support, and encourages new ideas; especially on how Start For Life methods can be extended throughout the pre-school day, and when children are with their parents.

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Accepted in Research-tested
Intervention Programs (RTIPs).

SFL was accepted into the National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute’s Research-tested Intervention Programs (RTIPs) on August 15, 2014. The RTIPs website is one of several resources on the Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. portal. The RTIPs website is a searchable database of evidence-based cancer control programs and related materials and it is designed to provide program planners and public health practitioners easy and immediate access to research-tested materials. Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), RTIPs provides a review of evidence-based programs available for use in a community or clinical setting.

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