First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative Uses Family Approach to Help Children Live Well
As a key partner of Live Well San Diego, the County of San Diego’s 10-year plan to achieve healthy, safe, and thriving communities, First 5 San Diego aims for all programs to support the initiative. The First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI) developed the QPI Live Well San Diego Pilot Project to build better health for QPI’s preschool students. The project introduces a new strategy of improving the health of children; that is to focus on the adults who work with the children. The idea is that adults leading healthy lives will influence children to live healthy through exercise and making healthy food choices.
That’s why the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), coordinator of QPI, hired professional fitness trainer Mike Cotherine. Cotherine specializes in a family approach to wellness and health, transferring his knowledge of exercise and nutrition to the adults in a child’s life, specifically parents and teachers, who then strive to bring new healthy eating and fitness routines to their entire family or, in this case, their classrooms. Cotherine works with more than 30 QPI teachers and instructional aides each year, in addition to program directors and nutrition directors. He provides three 1.5-hour nutrition and exercise sessions each week at each QPI site.
Nine QPI sites in three communities have implemented the QPI Live Well San Diego Pilot Project: (Lemon Grove Community) Lemon Grove Academy, Monterey Heights Preschool, San Altos Preschool, San Miguel Preschool, Vista La Mesa Academy, (San Ysidro Community) Smythe Child Development Center, Sunset Preschool, and (South Bay Community) VIP Village Preschool, VIP West view Preschool.
Watch this interview of Mike Cotherine and VIP Village Preschool Director David Sheppard about the project’s impact:
Watch this video of children positively impacted by the project:
The First 5 San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative (QPI) provides free, high-quality half-day preschool to 3 and 4-year-olds throughout the county. To learn more or to find out if your child is eligible, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or click here.
As we close FY 2013-14, we’re proud of all of our contractors for your achievements, and in particular, your efforts to help us support Live Well San Diego!