Nike, Head Start Group Team Up To Promote Preschoolers’ Health

March 22, 2005 1 min read

How do you get preschoolers to exercise? Ask them to try wiggling like scrambled eggs, marching to music, or doing the beanbag boogie. Those were only a few of the many activities recommended last week at a conference in Chicago, where the athletic-apparel maker Nike Inc. and the National Head Start Association launched a new fitness program for children in the federal preschool program.

The NikeGO Head Start Initiative, which was piloted last year at 80 sites across the country, offers a customized curriculum, teacher training, and family lessons that help teach 3- to 5-year-olds how to develop good motor skills, interact with other children, and gain a better understanding of how their bodies work and move. So far, the program has trained 320 teachers and engaged 30,000 Head Start children.

The earlier parents and teachers can get children physically active, the sooner children will begin leading healthier lives, said Alicia Procello, the program manager of NikeGO, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company’s community-affairs program.

“A child’s life is not just when they’re in school,” said Ms. Procello. “We need to get people to model physical activities for kids” at home, too.