Truth # 4 - Move It!

At SouthSide Early Childhood Center, we are guided by 10 Truths – these are words that inspire us in the work we do, and we hope inspire our entire community to join us in transforming the future for children and families living in poverty.

As we begin another St. Louis summer, we start getting creative to make sure our children get fresh air and lots of physical exercise. Our approach to learning is comprehensive and we know that attending to physical health and mental well-being really helps young children learn cognitive and social skills. When the weather cooperates, they are outside playing in structured activities or free play for an hour a day, and more if they are in our extended day program. For many of our children, this is the only opportunity they have to run, skip, climb and play games with friends. Their homes might not have yards, the park might be a long bus ride away, and in some neighborhoods, crime is a daily occurrence and parents don’t feel safe letting their children go outside to play. 

When the heat index climbs above safe levels, we have to resort to “indoor play.” In our dear old building (age 57 this year), that means inflatable basketball in a hallway corner, small scooters up and down the hallway, dancing to “I Like to Move It Move It” – everyone’s favorite – and hallway parades. After a long stretch of days like this, children and staff can get pretty weary.

Tim Burke, one of our Board members (aka @1inspiredidiot) is not letting a little hot weather get in the way of a physical and mental challenge. He’s running a 146-mile ultra-marathon in Death Valley in a few weeks. And he’s doing so to help raise money for our new school at Jefferson and Russell in south City – which will include a beautiful, large, fully-equipped gross motor room for indoor play! We’ll be able to fit an entire classroom at a time with trikes, balls, balance beams for all manner of healthy (and roomy) physical activity. We will also provide our occupational therapists with space and proper equipment to work with the many children at SouthSide with a delay in motor skills.

Help us cheer Tim on by following his blog at and please spread the word to all your friends via Facebook and Twitter. Help SouthSide “move it move it” into a new school!


Blog, NewsCleo Fisher