Healthy Starts for Infants and Toddlers: Shape NC (HSIT) promotes nutrition and active living through play for children ages birth to three years old. The project focuses on the time when early brain development is critical, and teacher interaction is most important for children to develop language and learning skills that can shape their entire lives.

The model provides a network of experts to focus on child nutrition, physical activity, outdoor learning, and breastfeeding/infant feeding. As part of HSIT, OCPYC is providing extensive technical assistance, professional development, and training in each of the program areas for directors and classroom teachers at five child care centers in Orange County. In each program area, goals are set and action plans developed to achieve best practices. Progress is measured with the NAPSACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care) assessment survey.

Following the trainings, center directors were eager to implement changes in their classroom practices. “Our teachers began adding more physical activity into each day with several types of resources from the Be Active Kids Training! They started using various types of materials to get the children moving more inside and outside the classroom. The children, parents and teachers have been much happier and engaged since this training because everyone is more mentally and physically active!” said Kelli Dallin, Director of The Goddard School of Chapel Hill.

OCPYC staff also worked intensively with HSIT directors and staff at NC State University’s Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) to plan and design improved infant and toddler Outdoor Learning Environments (OLE) at each center. OCPYC collaborated with Wake County Smart Start to visit model Shape sites in Wake County, giving directors a sense of the possibilities for their own centers. By the end of FY 2019-2020, construction was underway at three centers, with the bulk of the work planned for FY 2020-2021.

Participating HSIT Centers:

  • Future Scholars Childcare and Development Center, Hillsborough
  • The Goddard School, Chapel Hill
  • Kehillah Jewish Preschool, Chapel Hill
  • Lil’ Treasures Day Care, Hillsborough
  • University Child Care Center (Victory Village), Chapel Hill

Model Early Learning Mentor Sites:

  • Community School for People Under Six, Carrboro
  • Spanish for Fun Academy, Chapel Hill

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