Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Springboard Opportunities

As part of the Healthy Kids, Health Future Technical Assistance Program (HKHF TAP), Nemours Children’s Health 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,” 30 states and the District of Columbia have participated in these training and TA options.

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 and with our own expertise in healthy eating and physical activity, we compile technical assistance 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 the ECE sector each year.

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. Of the 16 SPAN states, 14 have participated in six out of eight total springboards. All 11 HKHF TAP states have participated in at least one of the eight Springboards. A further five states not part of SPAN or HKHF TAP accepted a total of seven unique Springboard offerings for the first time in 2021, in addition to two other states each receiving one Springboard in 2019. With most states participating in two Springboards each year, and most states also participating in at least two different years, if not every year, Nemours Children’s has provided a total of 96 different technical assistance offerings through the three years of the Springboard program.

Current Springboard Opportunities 2021 – 2022

Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate
Nemours Children’s has offered North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) Certificate course as a Springboard since 2019. As of November 2021, 210 individuals from 21 states 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, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Equity Training
In partnership with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Nemours Children’s has provided 12 states with the equity training for their stakeholders focused on improving equity, diversity, and inclusion in ECE settings and systems. Across the 12 states that have accessed this opportunity, 265 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 up to five hours of follow-up technical assistance to each state, totaling more than 75 hours to date, which support states in applying the training content to their ECE work in the months after the initial offering. In the first three years of the project, we have supported equity training in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

GIS Story Mapping of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Participation
Through the Springboard Opportunities, 18 states have worked with Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) to create GIS maps of CACFP-participating and CACFP-eligible ECE providers in their communities. 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, we have partnered with CCAoA to create maps of Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Physical Activity Learning Sessions (PALS)
Since 2019, Nemours Children’s has offered a “train the trainer” opportunity focused 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, the PALS train the trainer sessions and resources help 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 more than 330 PALS participants such as trainers and TA staff in the following 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee.