Helping Preschool Teachers and Child Care Providers Keep Children Active throughout the Day

By Monet Parham-Lee, MPH, California Department of Public Health Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch

California continues to address disparities in its obesity rates, in part, by implementing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) activities that help create and expand healthy environments through policy, systems, and environmental change and provide evidence-based nutrition education and physical activity promotion efforts. To support this work in the early care and education setting, the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB) of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), in partnership with the California State University, Chico Center for Healthy Communities, created the Early Care and Education Physical Activity Toolkit for Preschool-Aged Children (ECE PA Toolkit).

The toolkit provides practical tools for use with young children ages 3 to 5 years old. It assists child care providers, teachers, and aides with integrating physical activity throughout the day and providing programming that supports children meeting recommendations. The toolkit includes a focus on adding small amounts of activity throughout the day to accumulate minutes towards recommendations in critical areas. These critical areas include adult-led physical activity, child-led physical activity, and outside play.

To assist in planning, the toolkit includes the following basic activities and resources to help build developmentally appropriate physical activity into daily schedules.

  • Planning and scheduling suggestions provide help for child care providers, teachers, and aides to get started.
  • Skill Cards focus on specific locomotor, manipulative, and stability skills with examples for practicing each skill. Each card also identifies the California Preschool Learning Foundations (PLF) and Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) measures.
  • Sample activities contain ideas for implementing physical activity and for using the skill cards provided in the toolkit.
  • “Verb of the Day” card ideas help facilitate active transitions throughout each day.
  • A sample, customizable physical activity policy template for child care and preschool sites describes and documents how adult caregivers provide daily physical activity opportunities to the children in their care and meet age-appropriate physical activity recommendations.
  • Additional resources to support continued physical activity planning and implementation.

The toolkit contains information and tools helpful in the promotion of physical activity in any early care and education settings. To learn more about the toolkit, its contents, and how to use it, review this web-based training: Webinar Recording and Webinar Slides

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