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Child Care NPA Forums


The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is offering two virtual Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA) Forums in April 2022. The forums highlight and demonstrate methods for integrating nutrition education, edible gardens, wellness policies, and physical activity into child care centers and homes. Participants will learn ways to create environments that maximize opportunities for children to develop healthy eating habits and to move their bodies to learn. These forums provide a unique platform where early childhood educators can express challenges and develop solutions toward supporting active living and healthy eating environments. All attendees will receive a toolkit with a variety of resources that they can immediately utilize in child care centers and homes.

Table of Contents

Agenda and Registration Links

The NPA Forums are an optional training for early learning and care professionals.

The registration process will require registrants to provide a mailing address so a toolkit can be mailed to each registrant that will support learning at the NPA Forums. Space is limited to the first 75 registrants.

Use the links below to register for the NPA forums:

All registrants will receive a link to access the NPA Forum and additional information about the NPA Forum by email after the registration process is complete.

The forums are free to attend. The first 75 registrants for each forum will receive a toolkit filled with nutrition and garden curricula, nutrition-related books for children, and physical activity music and props. All attendees will receive a certificate of completion and links to online resources to enable them to engage in the virtual forums.

Session Descriptions and Speakers

Preschool Policies and Practices
This session will introduce what constitutes a good wellness policy and will teach participants how to develop policies related to nutrition education, edible gardening, and physical activity. The forum is an open opportunity for participants to ask questions and develop solutions to policy development challenges. Speaker: Kristine Smith, MS, RD, Senior Director of Nutrition Services at Neighborhood House Association, San Diego, CA and Professor of Food Service Management and Quantity Foods courses at Point Loma Nazarene University

Edible Classroom Gardens
A garden, however large or small, provides young children with endless opportunities to explore the natural world, harvest and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, and engage in meaningful learning. This session will address how to design a garden, provide helpful resources for garden educators, and introduce garden-related literature for preschoolers. Participants will take part in garden-based nutrition activities that engage children’s curiosity and enthusiasm while introducing them to healthy eating and basic environmental science. All activities are linked to the California Preschool Learning Foundations. Speaker: Vanessa Forwood, Soil Born Farms—Sacramento, CA

Active Bodies, Active Minds
Young children show us how active their minds and bodies are every day. As facilitators of play, teachers need to be intentional and integrative in their approach. This session will explore the importance of physical activity and active play, how much physical activity is appropriate for young children, the integration of school readiness skills disguised in fun activities, and the benefits of yoga for children and adults. All activities are linked to the CDE California Preschool Learning Foundations. Speaker: Patricia A. Kimbrell, M.Ed., physical activity consultant, trainer, and author

Discovering Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains
This session will demonstrate ways to incorporate nutrition throughout the preschool day using the CDE Food for Thought curriculum, which includes 32 lessons that are fun for children and easy to implement. The curriculum incorporates math, science, and literacy concepts and is aligned with the CDE California Preschool Learning Foundations and the CDE Desired Results Development Profile©. Speaker: Raquel Dietrich, Santa Clara County Office of Education

Target Audience

Making changes and improving the NPA environment at a child care site requires a team effort; therefore, all staff contributing to the wellness environment of the child care program are welcome! This may include, but is not limited to, child care center teachers, directors, family child care home providers, and monitors from sponsoring agencies.

Recommendations to Optimize Experience

Technology: If you are viewing the NPA Forum as an individual, please have access to a desktop or laptop computer, smart phone, or tablet.

All participants must have Internet access and should download/install Zoom on their device a minimum of 15 minutes before the training to ensure the platform works correctly. Please contact Maria Lazaro (listed in the Contact Information section below) for help with the Zoom platform.

Engagement: The NPA Forums are an interactive training where presenters encourage involvement through polling, chats, break-out rooms, and an open discussion. Questions and comments are highly encouraged throughout the NPA Forums. We encourage participants to participate in all gardening, physical activity, and nutrition education activities, but there is also the option to simply watch and conduct the activities on your own time.

Time: The NPA Forums are live and must be watched during the scheduled date and time. They are not available later as recorded webinars.

Professional Growth Hours

The NPA Forums offer 6.0 professional growth hours which will help teachers renew their Child Development Teacher Permit, required for Title V programs. A certificate of completion will be available upon completion of the NPA Forum through the California Workforce Registry

Contact Information

For help with registration or the Zoom platform, to cancel an existing registration, or for inquiries about the wait list for the NPA Forums, contact Maria Lazaro, WestEd Project Coordinator, by email at or by phone at 805-465-4464 or 800-770-6339.

For questions about the content in the NPA Forums, contact Courtney Hardoin, CDSS Nutrition Education Consultant, by email at