Go!Kids Health and Fitness Programs
Recognizing the importance of starting early to prevent childhood obesity before it takes root, The Children’s Aid Society launched CAS Go!Kids, a 24-week food and fitness curriculum that fits seamlessly into preschool classrooms. It instills healthy eating and active living practices in young children through daily activities, including stories, songs, arts projects, movement and cooking. CAS Go!Kids teaches children about nutrition, healthy body development, body image and the fun of exploring healthy foods.
Fun and simple cooking activities are woven into the CAS Go!Kids curriculum. Recipes are based on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans, and lesson plans show teachers how to make cooking with toddlers a safe and hands-on experience. In this setting, food becomes a source of fun, discovery, and celebration as children learn that go!foods are not only good for their bodies, but are delicious as well.
CAS Go!Kids has been developed and tested since 2003. In 2008, The Children’s Aid Society partnered with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services to train teachers in seven preschool programs to adopt the Go!Kids curriculum in their classrooms. Karp Resources, along with Dr. Carolyn Berry, the Deputy Director and Associate Research Professor at the Wagner Graduate School of New York University, conducted the randomized controlled evaluation. The evaluation showed a significant impact on student behavior after completing one year of the program.
Key findings include:
- When offered a choice between an apple and a candy (a Twizzler) two consecutive times, 57 percent of students who participated in the Go!Kids program chose the apple the second time, as compared to only 33 percent of students in the control group. This represents a statistically significant difference.
- At the end of the program, 70 percent of students were able to correctly identify the healthy “go!” foods, and 73 percent were able to identify the unhealthy “slow” foods.
- Parents reported that their children were more willing to try new foods at home.