The Early Childhood Domain provides a space for early childhood providers and stakeholders to share best practices and create healthy environments for children ages 0-5.

About | Past Meeting Minutes | Domain Summary | Resources

Farm to Preschool

About the Early Childhood Domain:

Next meeting:

Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. unless otherwise noted at the
YMCA Childcare Resource Service Building, 4th floor conference room (3333 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108)

Visit the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative Calendar for a complete schedule of upcoming meetings.

Domain Champions:

Kim McDougal, YMCA Childcare Resource Service
Kathleen Merchant, SDSU Research Foundation WIC Program
Laura Jeanes, Neighborhood House Association

COI Staff Contact:

Dan Fesperman, Director, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, 858.609.7982, email
Nina Ghatan, Coordinator, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, 858.609.7964, email
Lyndsey Tapia, Assistant, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, 858.609.7963, email

Domain Summary:

The Early Childhood Domain is comprised of childcare and preschool providers and stakeholders committed to the prevention and reduction of childhood obesity. This domain workgroup assists parents, teachers, administrators, and childcare providers in the promotion of healthy nutrition and physical activity among young children. For a complete overview of the Early Childhood Domain, click here.

Early Childhood Domain Strategies:

The following is a partial list of strategies that aim to engage early care and education providers to prevent childhood obesity. A complete list of strategies is located in Call to Action: Childhood Obesity Action Plan.

  • Adopt and implement effective wellness policies (i.e., COI's Healthy Eating and Physical Activity: A Policy for Child Care) that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.
  • Provide and/or participate in training for teachers, childcare providers, directors, and food services staff to incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into all childcare settings.
  • Model behaviors that demonstrate healthy eating and physically active lifestyles for parents and children.
  • Establish farm to preschool programs and gardens in childcare homes and centers.

For a complete list of Early Childhood Domain strategies, please see the Call to Action: Childhood Obesity Action Plan.

Partners participating in this domain workgroup support childcare and preschool providers in adopting these changes through the following activities:

  • Develop and provide resources, support, and technical assistance to early childhood educators.
  • Provide a forum for the early childhood community to network, share resources, and partner with others.


This document outlines the domain's current activities.


Recent accomplishments include:

  • Continued supporting the Wellness Champion designation that family childcare homes and centers can receive upon meeting certain criteria related to nutrition and physical activity. To date, there have been over 7,500 referrals to more than 80 Wellness Champion sites.
  • Surveyed staff from three local institutions of higher education to identify health and wellness components included in the early education curriculum. Survey results indicated a strong focus on nutrition and less of a focus on physical activity and gross motor development. The workgroup will begin identifying opportunities to work with higher education staff to strengthen the curriculum in fall 2017.
  • Developed model language for preschools located on school sites that includes age appropriate healthy eating and physical activity recommendations for children 0-5 years old.

Obesity Prevention Activities for Children Age 0-5:

All activities in this domain focus on children ages 0-5.





Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All



Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood The website provides resources, reports, and advocacy opporunities to promote commercial-free time and space for kids.
Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) supports the nutrition and health of more than 3 million infants and children and more than 114,000 impaired or older adults, primarily from low-income households. Institute of Medicine recommends that USDA implement new meal requirements that promote eating more fruits and vegetables, and whole grain-rich foods, and foods that are lower in fat, sugar, and salt.

Child Care Wellness Tool Kit: Child and Adult Care Food Program


This tool kit provides an overview of national best practices and strategies for implementing good nutrition and physical activity in the childcare setting.

Childhood Obesity Prevention Advocacy Tools for Physicians

These documents have been designed in collaboration with the Schools & After-school and Early Childhood domains.  They are to be used as resources to assist physicians in their efforts to advocate for childhood obesity prevention.



Farm to Preschool: Harvest of the Month Program


This specially adapted version of Harvest of the Month (HOM) provides teachers with  a variety of lessons and activities to build young learner's (ages 2-5) healthy eating habits.  The HOM curriculum takes preschoolers on a "journey" to meet farmers and learn about local agriculture, explore the multiple benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sample the fruits of California's bountiful harvest.

First 5 Commission San Diego

The first five years of life are critical to a child's development. These years shape a child's success in school and in life. First 5 Commission educates and helps parents and others help children during these early years. We are committed to the vision that all San Diego children will enter kindergarten "Ready to Succeed."


Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

FPG has provided a resource list of publications and studies for those who specialize in health, safety, and nutrition to support the inclusion of children with disabilities and children who are culturally and linguistically diverse .

Food Friends The Food Friends have several programs available to encourage children ages 3-5 to try new foods and enhance gross motor skills through physical activity and play.

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Policy


This is a sample of a written policy promoting wellness within a childcare facility, courtesy of YMCA Childcare Resource Services.

Healthy Habits for Life Child Care Resource Kit

This resource kit provides early childhood providers with tools for conducting interactive nutrition and physical activity lessons in the childcare setting and encouraging families to adopt similar practices at home.

Keeping Children Healthy in California's Child Care Environments



This report intends to make recommendations to reduce obesity and promote healthy lifestyles among California's children and youths. These recommendations are not intended to be independent of each other; rather, they are intended to be implemented together as a comprehensive, coordinated plan involving public and private partners at all stages.




Let's Go Learning Adventures



A number of field trip guides that help early childhood educators to support children to actively explore their community, building concepts and knowledge that last a lifetime.

Preschool Learning Foundations


This document provides early childhood providers with a clear overview of the California Department of Education's educational expectations for young learners entering kindergarten. The resource also includes materials targeted towards parents on the State's learning foundations, their purpose, and the skills and knowledge children should attain at 48 and 60 months of age.

Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs


This report outlines standards that support key national campaigns for early development of healthy lifestyle habits and specifically assists early care and education programs with the development and implementation of best practices, procedures, and policies to instill healthy behavior and healthy lifestyle choices in our nation's youngest children.

Tools for Use in Preschools or Day Care


Eat Smart, Move More is a North Carolina initiative that promotes increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play, and pray.  This organization has outlined several resources available to early childhood providers to create healthy environments for young children.

Wellness Champion Program and Checklist The YMCA Childcare Resource Service is teaming up to provide early childcare providers the opportunity to receive free training, support, and coaching by health educators in the areas of healthy eating and active living. Upon program completion, your site will receive increased visability by being placed on their preferred list.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Cooking Classes

WIC Cooking Live! Program consists of cooking demonstrations and a hands-on cooking class. Participants are given the opportunity to taste and cook with unique and flavorful ingredients, spices, and herbs. Clients will learn how to create delicious, healthful homemade meals using the foods included in the WIC package.

YMCA Childcare Resource Service Childcare Finder



All licensed child care centers and family child care homes, nanny agencies and license-exempt school based programs are listed in this free referral database.

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Quick Facts

  • In 2006 alone, overweight; obesity; and physical inactivity cost California $41 billion in healthcare and productivity loss
  • One in four children in San Diego County is overweight or obese; this is slightly higher than the national average (California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 2009)
  • Overweight children are far more likely to be obese as adults (California Center of Public Health Advocacy, 2009)

News & Upcoming Events

See our latest newsletter and the COI calendar for upcoming events.

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Physical Activity and Nutrition Database

A free "one stop shop" for programs and services in nutrition, healthy weight, physical activity, and diabetes.

Core funding provided in part by:

Kaiser Permanente County of San Diego

A project facilitated by:

California Health Improvement Partners

San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative
5095 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite #105, San Diego, CA 92123
(p)858.609.7964 - (f)858.609.7998
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