Under One Sky
Under One Sky is an off-reserve, aboriginal head-start initiative based in Fredericton. At its core is a program for children, starting at age 2, until they begin school. In the last year, Under One Sky has begun putting a major focus on healthy living: physical activity and healthy eating. The nutritional aspect has been approached in gradual steps, due to the finicky nature of most young children when it comes to food. The centre had given the children whole milk in the past, but, by slowly switching, they were able to wean them from 2 percent, then to 1 percent, with all of the kids now drinking skim milk.
The centre celebrates every child’s birthday throughout the year, but wanted to move away from the sugary cake and ice cream. Now, all children get a big fruit plate on their birthday, with whipped topping and a candle to blow out. They get the same special birthday attention, but without all the sugar. The centre also focuses on physical activity. Unless the weather is very very cold, the children will play outdoors for thirty minutes every day. The centre’s motto is: There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. The centre also works closely with parents, hosting an information session at least once a month. By educating the parents on the importance of proper nutrition and adequate physical activity, the hope is that children will see the benefits at home too. Feedback has been tremendous, and the centre plans to continue promoting wellness going forward.