Studies show that it is important to start health and wellness habits as early as possible, as children are developing taste preferences, learning to walk and play, and beginning to adopt both healthy and unhealthy patterns. Every child deserves a healthy start in life! Early care and education programs play a crucial role in setting up healthy environments and growing these health and wellness habits!
See our Early Care and Education toolkit for ideas on how to get started!
This toolkit highlights:
- The 12345 Fit-Tastic! materials and parent handouts available to you
- Ideas for how to use 12345 Fit-Tastic! messaging in your program and in communication with families
- Examples of Fit-Tastic! wellness policies and practices
- Sample Fit-Tastic! family letters
- Connections to community partners and additional resources
To get ideas for wellness polices, see the Fit-Tastic! Policy Ideas and Family Letters. For more details and resources on wellness policies in early care and education settings, see the following:
- The Nemours Child Care Wellness Policy Workbook: Early childhood providers can use this comprehensive workbook to develop their own individualized wellness policies.
- Go NAP SACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care) is an online tool to help early care and education programs assess and improve their nutrition and physical activity policies and practices.
- Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures supports early care and education providers to make positive changes in five healthy goal areas: nurturing healthy eaters, providing healthy beverages, increasing physical activity, limiting screen time and supporting breastfeeding. Online assessment, tools, action plans and resources.
- Let’s Move! Child Care supports early care and education providers to make positive changes in five healthy goal areas: nurturing healthy eaters, providing healthy beverages, increasing physical activity, limiting screen time and supporting breastfeeding. Online assessment, tools, action plans and resources.
- Model Policies for Creating a Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Environment in Child Care Settings: This manual from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services provides guidance on developing model nutrition and physical activity policies for child care. It includes examples of best-practice policies, tips to implement policies and materials to share with families.
- Recognition Programs in Missouri: Missouri Move Smart and Breastfeeding Friendly are voluntary programs that give you recognition for doing great work.
How can we join the Healthy Lifestyles Initiative (HLI) movement?
- Sign Up as a partner
- Look for an email from Fit-Tastic! org (within a day or so). We’ll grant you access to download all the 12345 Fit-Tastic! handouts, materials and activities for FREE!
- Download the free HLI in Early Care and Education toolkit today!
As a partner, you can download 12345 Fit-Tastic! handouts and materials, you’ll receive email updates and newsletters from us, and you’ll be added the HLI partner network! HLI staff can support you in filling a MAPPS for Change, action plan, connecting you with existing resources in your area or providing materials or technical assistance based on the ideas you have!
How have other early care and education providers been involved with the HLI?
There are many ways you could incorporate the Healthy Lifestyles Initiative approaches into your program! Here are some examples from our partners:
- Created a 12345 Fit-Tastic! bulletin board and rotated information on each of the 5 messages
- Included fruits and vegetables in play food/play kitchen and encouraged children to talk about “colorful” healthy plates at meal time.
- Served healthy food and included fun physical activity at all family events (Served fruit and low-fat yogurt parfaits at parent event and even had children help prepare the snack!)
- Altered morning snacks to ensure that fresh fruits replaced crackers.
- Instituted screen time limits in the classroom and offered a parent education night about screen time guidelines.