Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Springboard Opportunities

As part of the Healthy Kids, Health Future Technical Assistance Program (HKHF TAP), Nemours Children’s Health (Nemours Children’s) offers curated and time-limited resources to enhance state efforts to address healthy eating and physical activity in ECE. Launched in 2019 and known as “Springboard Opportunities,” 37 states and the District of Columbia have participated in these training and technical assistance (TA) options in Years 1 through 5 of HKHF TAP.

How does it work?

handshake iconNemours Children’s created the Springboard Opportunities using our extensive experience implementing programs aimed at improving the health of young children in both clinical and community settings. In partnership with national experts, we coordinate TA and training offerings to respond to state ECE partners’ and providers’ needs and priorities. Nemours Children’s annually considers the goals of our partners and ECE program staff across the country. By collaborating with state and national partners, we create a tailored set of resources and services to address the challenges and opportunities facing ECE professionals.

checklist iconState organizations such as departments of health or early childhood organizations apply to participate in Springboard Opportunities through an annual “Expression of Interest” process. Each applicant indicates how the requested Springboard would complement and advance their planned and existing work to integrate healthy and physical activity into ECE settings and systems.

star iconFinally, Nemours Children’s facilitates the matches between national partners, HKHF program staff, and the interested state organization. These partners collaborate over the next 9-10 months to implement the Springboard activities.

Who has participated?

Nemours Children’s initially offered Springboards to states involved in the Technical Assistance and Partnership Support (TAPS) program in 2019. The following year, Nemours Children’s extended the opportunities to recipients of CDC’s State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Program funding. Given the growing demand for these targeted resources, HKHF TAP expanded eligibility to all states in 2021. During the first 4 years of the HKHF TAP program, Nemours Children’s offered 9 unique Springboard Opportunities to 13 TAP states, 14 SPAN states and 5 Ambassador states and the District of Columbia.

  • All 13 HKHF TAP states have participated in at least one of the 9 Springboards.
  • Of the 16 SPAN states, 14 have participated in 36 total Springboards through 7 of the 9 offerings.
  • Additionally, 5 Ambassador states (states not part of SPAN or HKHF TAP) and the District of Columbia completed 8 total Springboards through 6 of the 9 offerings.

With most states participating in two Springboards each year, and most states also participating in at least two different years, Nemours Children’s has provided a total of 133 different TA offerings through the 5 years of the Springboard program. Year 5 Springboard Opportunities kicked off in October 2022 and will be completed by July 31, 2023.

Current Springboard Opportunities: 2023

Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate

Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate

Nemours Children’s has offered North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate course as a Springboard since 2019. As of July 2022, 287 individuals from 20 states and the District of Columbia have completed their NLI certificates demonstrating that they have completed the 12-week, 24-hour course in evidence-based best practices in planning and creating high-quality outdoor play and learning environments. The Springboard program has trained certified individuals in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. In Year 5, Hawaii and Washington are newly participating in the Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate Course.

Gardening Activity Guide Certificate Course

Gardening Activity Guide Course

Nemours Children’s is excited to partner with North Carolina State University to offer their Gardening Activity Guide Certificate Course for the first time as a Springboard in 2023. The course aims to provide knowledge, tools, and resources for child care providers and associated professionals to develop and implement program fruit and vegetable gardens for young children as a vehicle for learning. Eleven states will be participating in the new Gardening Activity Guide Certificate Course in Year 5.

Equity Support

Equity Training with Technical Assistance

In partnership with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Nemours Children’s has provided 13 states with the equity training for their stakeholders focused on improving equity, diversity, and inclusion in ECE settings and systems. Across the 13 states that have accessed this opportunity, 292 individuals have participated in IPHI’s 16-hour training. This training is aimed at ensuring state leaders, program managers, and stakeholders incorporate an equity lens into their ECE interventions. IPHI also provides follow-up technical assistance to each state, which support states in applying the training content to their ECE work in the months after the initial offering. In the first 4 years of the project, we have supported equity training in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In Year 5, IPHI will provide training in Delaware for the first time and will offer the training in Colorado once again to further the state’s Farm to Early Care and Education equity journey.

Equity Technical Assistance 

States that have completed the IPHI Equity Training have the opportunity to receive TA support from the Institute for Public Health Innovation. This TA only option is aimed at supporting states in applying the training content to their ECE work. So far, 6 states have taken advantage of this opportunity, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

GIS Story Mapping of CACFP Participation

GIS Story Mapping of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Participation

Through the Springboard Opportunities, 16 states and the District of Columbia have created GIS maps of CACFP-participating and CACFP-eligible ECE providers in their communities. Fifteen of these states have worked with Child Care Aware of America® (CCAoA) to develop these GIS maps. By overlaying multiple point-in-time datasets on a map of a state, CCAoA gives ECE leaders and their partners a “story map.” Each state’s “story map” highlights key findings from the data selected, such as food deserts with many ECE providers not participating in CACFP. States can then use these tools to inform outreach and prioritize opportunities for CACFP and other state systems. To date, maps have been created for 18 states and the District of Columbia: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. South Carolina partnered with an in-state contractor to create their own map based on the CCAoA approach. Four states (Hawaii, Montana, Nevada and Tennessee) will be creating new GIS maps, and Pennsylvania will be updating their GIS map, in Year 5.

Physical Activity Learning Sessions (PALS)

Physical Activity Learning Sessions (PALS)

Since 2019, Nemours Children’s has offered a “train the trainer” opportunity on physical activity for ECE trainers and technical assistance staff working at the state level. We provide these trainers and TA staff with an evidence-based curriculum and set of materials that they can use to deliver trainings to ECE providers virtually and in person. The curriculum and resources combine content on physical activity in ECE with self-assessments and policy development opportunities. Together, PALS helps state-level staff to work with ECE providers to make changes that will allow the children in their care to be healthier and more active. Since 2019, Nemours Children’s has trained 511 PALS participants, such as  trainers and TA staff in the 11 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. Five new states will participate in PALS in Year 5: Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, and Utah.