Yoga lesson with Tess Johnson
Two-thirds of children in communities across Mississippi are considered unprepared to enter kindergarten. We know that children who enter school behind academically continue to struggle to catch up. The School of Education at the University of Mississippi needs your support for an important program that prepares children by focusing on the development of the whole child in our state’s communities.
Growing Healthy Minds, Bodies and Communities (GHMBC) was founded in 2018 by School of Education faculty members Dr. Alicia Stapp, Dr. Kenya Wolff and program manager Tess Johnson to promote the development of children’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual well-being.
GHMBC provides curriculum, tools, resources and training for educators to teach integrated lessons including yoga and mindfulness, gardening and nutrition, conflict management, diversity and inclusion, and physical activities that support the well-being of all children. Additionally, GHMBC encourages families and communities to continue learning outside the classroom with weekly take-home ideas and summer activity kits that match what children learn throughout the year. The program has also partnered with local grocers and chefs, including Oxford’s Chicory Market and chef Elizabeth Speed, to provide take-home meal kits for families to prepare and share together.
Since its establishment, GHMBC has reached more than 700 preschool children and their families in north Mississippi, including schools in Lafayette and Sunflower counties and at the Willie Price Lab School. Program leaders plan to expand their current outreach this academic year by serving an additional 150+ children in three schools in the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District.
GHMBC has previously received funding from organizations dedicated to early childhood programs and children’s health, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the UM Community Wellbeing Constellation and Move On Up, Mississippi. This past year, GHMBC received the UM Excellence in Community Engagement Award and the UM Achieving Equity Award to continue support of the program over the coming years.
Our work is just beginning. We are asking individuals and families to help us collectively raise $12,000 to continue serving Mississippi children this school year. Funds will be used to support:
- Program Management – As GHMBC’s geographical reach expands across Mississippi, we must work harder to sustain our partner school relationships. Our staff continues to facilitate effective communications between schools, create and deliver classroom supplies, assist with the collection of program feedback and evaluation, and lead teacher training and professional development.
- Curriculum Supplies/Materials – Funds raised will help GHMBC expand to three preschools in the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District. Each teacher will implement 32 GHMBC lessons, requiring classroom materials such as paper, books, craft supplies, fruits and vegetables, cooking utensils, planting supplies, yoga mats and equipment for physical activity (i.e., balls, hula hoops, beach balls, ribbon wands).
- Tower Gardens – Classroom Tower Gardens are integrated into several GHMBC units and teach students about gardening, nutrition, science, math and language arts, while also fostering social-emotional skills and a love of fresh food.
Help us promote the whole health of our Mississippi students by making a gift of any size to support Growing Healthy Minds, Bodies and Communities.