For Early Care Providers

Healthy Kids Learn Better

Studies have shown that by adopting wellness policies, children miss less days of school, are more active during the day, and have access to healthier food choices. As educators of young children, you care about helping them grow up healthy and strong and you know that early childhood environments play a critical role in the comprehensive approach to improving child health. Implementing a wellness policy will demonstrate that your organization recognizes the importance of lifelong health and that lifelong health and learning starts in early childhood.

The Department of Public Health developed three training curricula for early care settings: The Growing Fit Kit: Wellness policies in Georgia’s Early Care Environment, Asthma-Friendly Childcare Centers Toolkit, and Eat. Move. Talk! The toolkits are each accompanied by an associated training to guide early care educators in wellness policy development and practices to create healthy learning environments for Georgia’s children.

Growing Fit, Georgia Asthma Management Education in Childcare Settings (GAME-CS), and Eat. Move. Talk! training programs are set to expand their reach within the next year. An additional 125 centers and associated staff will be trained in physical activity and nutrition policies with the assistance of HealthMPowers. An additional 100 centers and associated staff will be trained in asthma management and asthma-friendly policies by the Georgia Asthma Control Program's approved trainers. Eat. Move. Talk! Will continue to train staff in three targeted communities in Georgia. For more information on Eat. Move. Talk! please click here.

Growing Fit

The Department of Public Health (DPH) and partners Georgia SHAPE and HealthMPowers, Inc., developed Growing Fit. The program promotes healthy behaviors among young children aged 0-5 through policy development, in efforts to establish healthy habits that can carry into all life stages. Early care educators are trained and provided with technical assistance in developing nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. These wellness policies use best practices to create a standard for early care educators. In addition, wellness policies work to support a healthy environment for Georgia’s early care centers. Click the Growing Fit Photo to view the Growing Fit Toolkit.

Growing Fit Kit: Wellness policies in Georgia’s Early Care Environment

The tool kit contains:

  • Explanation of the importance of a wellness policy,

  • Self-assessment tool to evaluate current policies and practices

  • Success stories from other early care settings

  • Healthy eating and physical activity resources

  •  Planning document with suggestions and examples for writing the policy

This educational learning experience features:

  • Growing Fit Kit: Wellness policies in Georgia’s Early Care Environment

  • Package of items including music and books about nurtition

  • DECAL approved CEU course


ABCs of Wellness Policies                                                                         




Highlights and Success Stories

Growing Fit is currently entering its 5th year in providing professional development to early care providers. The Growing Fit trainings assist early care providers in nutrition and physical activity policy development for their centers. Overall, Growing Fit has trained 232 educators from 94 centers, reaching 7,785 children.

From following up with the centers, it has been reported that the toolkit and other training resources have been beneficial in increasing nutrition and physical activity policies and/or practices. The centers have incorporated Growing Fit materials within the centers and share information with parents.

I have been doing this for 23 years now and sometimes I find myself needing motivation. I did receive it in this class. I have been trying new recipes with my little ones, and we are making memories. My new goal for next year is to grow a very small garden with my little ones. I loved in class about making smoothies with the little ones and I was wondering how they would react when they saw that they were using fresh spinach as one of the ingredients, but they drank it all! I have learned there are ways of getting those veggies in on our little picky eaters.

- Dawn Bradley’s Learning Center

We have started eating fresh fruit every day and we are working on helping teach our parents good nutrition and exercising habits. We welcome any new ideas, and a lot of our parents are very young. This is a great time to help teach our children and their parents.

- Blackshear Presbyterian Child Care


For more information on Growing Fit Program, toolkit and/or the associated training contact:

Esther N. Mune, PhD, MPH
Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Manager 

The Georgia Asthma Management Education in Childcare Settings (GAME-CS)

The toolkit and training was developed in partnership with members of the Georgia Asthma Advisory Board to assist early care providers adopting and implementing asthma-friendly policies.  In its pilot phase (2012-2013), 44 early care centers were trained in the GAME-CS curriculum, and 26 centers have received Asthma-Friendly Recognition.

Asthma-Friendly Childcare Centers Toolkit

The toolkit contains:

  • Description of asthma and how to manage triggers
  • Importance of asthma-management policies
  • Asthma-Friendly Childcare Center Recognition Guidance
  • Sample Asthma Action Plan
  • Environmental Triggers Checklist

Additional Resources

CDC Early Care and Education (ECE) Obesity Strategies

Confetti Smoothie Recipe

Whole Wheat Mini Pizza Recipe

GAME-CS Fact Sheet Summary





Page last updated 04/20/18