Corban Learning Center in Mt. Auburn serves children up to 5 years old. The program has achieved Ohio’s 1-Star Step Up To Quality rating. Ary Underwood-Grant has been the center’s director since July 2016.
How Corban Learning Center THRIVES!:
WeTHRIVE! Child Care Wellness Resolution: Corban adopted the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Wellness Resolution in 2015. This shows a commitment to provide a healthful environment for children by following guidelines on physical activity, screen time, safe sleep practices, nutrition, and tobacco.
Ohio Healthy Programs Award: Corban Learning Center received the Ohio Healthy Programs (OHP) designation in 2017. OHP is a statewide yearly recognition program for child care centers that commit to providing a healthier environment for the children they serve through written policies, menu enhancements, Step up to Quality trainings and family engagement. Director Ary Underwood-Grant completed the 15-hour Healthy Children, Healthy Weights curriculum.
Homemade Meals: Corban serves homemade lunches every day. Chef Brandi prepares dishes such as egg, cheese & veggie frittata, chicken lo mein, ground turkey tacos, and baked chicken legs. On the day we visited, lunch was a colorful turkey ham pasta salad, sautéed squash and zucchini, and fresh apple slices. The children loved it!
Encouraging New Foods: Ary encourages teachers to sit and eat with the children so they can talk about new foods. They also do hands-on lessons with unfamiliar fruits and veggies.
Nutritious & Appealing: Ary creates the center’s menus with an emphasis on nutrition and eye appeal. They now serve more whole grains, more vegetables, more vegetables as snacks, and a larger variety of fruits. “When I plan the menus, I try to make the meals and snacks colorful,” Ary said. “It’s more exciting for the kids and they are more likely to try it. We all eat by sight first.”
Structured Physical Activity: In addition to unstructured active playtime, teachers engage children in fun movement such as obstacle courses and parachute play.
Healthy Celebrations: Healthy foods are the norm at class celebrations and holiday parties. Parents know to ask before bringing outside food in—no junk food allowed!
In Her Own Words:
“When I give parents tours of the center, I let them know that we are part of WeTHRIVE! and OHP, and that we provide healthy nutritious meals and physical activity. I show them our menus and they see that we don’t serve things like chocolate or strawberry milk. When they enroll in our program, families are opting into healthy eating and healthy living for their child when they are at our center. They have no choice.”
On implementing WeTHRIVE! and OHP guidelines:
“It’s not as hard as it sounds. You have to be dedicated to the process because it works. When you see it through, it becomes easy. You don’t stress about it and you don’t have to think about it because it’s just how you do things now.”