Provider Health Spotlight on Margo Sipes


Margo Sipes, Executive Director, Downtown Baltimore Child Care, Inc.

The Problem

Young children need active play in order to grow up healthy—but how much active play?

The Solution

The more, the better.

How She Did It

Margo Sipes is a firm believer that young children don’t learn by sitting at desks. Rather, they learn by moving, by doing, by—as Margo says—“getting up to their elbows in what they’re learning.” So the children at the child care center she directs in the heart of Baltimore are on the move a lot. They get two hours a day of outdoor playtime daily, an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon. The center’s 8,000-square-foot play yard is intentionally designed to help children use all their muscle groups; there are walking/bike paths, places to climb and dig, and soft fall zones.

Peek inside a classroom, and you will see a whirr of movement there, too. Children are building with blocks. They’re dancing to music. They’re free to get up and move around. Margo estimates that the children spend 80 percent of the day in active play.

The Results

According to Margo, as a result of the healthy nutrition and increased physical activity provided by the center, the children “grow stronger physically, they develop muscles, they become athletic, they become sharper.”

On Margo’s Wish List

Funding to replace the aging play yard.



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Child Care Aware of America