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Child Care NPA Forums

2024 Dates and Information

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is offering three Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA) Forums in 2024. 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


Sections Times
Arrival, Registration, and Morning Snack   8:00–8:30 a.m.
Session 1: Welcome, Warm-Up, and Introductions 8:30–9:00 a.m.
Session 2: Child and Adult Care Food Protram (CACFP); Preschools SHINE Overview and Self-Assessment 9:00–9:40 a.m.
BREAK 9:40–9:50 a.m.
Breakout Session 3: Edible Classroom Gardens or Active Bodies, Active Minds 9:50–11:30 a.m.
LUNCH (Lunch provided) 11:30–12:00 p.m.
Breakout Session 4: Edible Classroom Gardens or Active Bodies, Active Minds  12:00–1:40 p.m.
Session 5: Discovering Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains 1:40–3:15 p.m.
Session 6: Preschool Policies and Practices; Preschools SHINE Action Plan; Summary and Q&A  3:20–3:50 p.m.
Evaluation and Professional Development 3:50–4:00 p.m.

Registration Links and Cost    

Space is limited to the first 75 registrants for the standard forums and the first 25 registrants for the satellite forum. Use the links below to register for the NPA forums:

Saturday, March 16, 2024 (8:00AM–4:00PM)

Saturday, March 23, 2024 (8:00AM–4:00PM)

The cost to attend the forum is $35 and includes a morning snack, lunch, printed Certificate of Completion, and a tote bag filled with nutrition and garden curricula, nutrition-related books for children, and physical activity music and props.

Session Descriptions and Speakers

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Preschools SHINE
Providing nutritious meals and snacks in Early Care and Education (ECE) sites is critical to enhance the health and wellbeing of young children. This session will provide an overview of the CACFP and the Preschools SHINE (Shaping Healthy Impressions through Nutrition and Exercise) Initiative. Participants will learn the benefits of participating in these programs, how to apply, and will evaluate their wellness program to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Speakers: Madison Fellenz, MPH—Child and Adult Care Food Program, CDSS; Kristine M. Smith, MS, RD—Neighborhood House Association

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

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.—San Diego State University

Discovering Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains
This session will demonstrate ways to incorporate nutrition throughout the preschool day using the California Department of Education (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

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 session is an open opportunity for participants to ask questions and develop solutions to policy development challenges. Speaker: Kristine M. Smith, MS, RD—Neighborhood House Association

Target Audience

Any 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. Attendance is limited to two staff members per site.

Recommendations to Optimize Experience

Dress comfortably. The NPA forum is made up of hands-on sessions; participants will be physically active—especially during the Active Minds, Active Bodies session.

Professional Development Hours

The NPA Forums offer 7.0 professional development 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.

Cancellation and Refunds

We regretfully cannot issue refunds for this event; however, a substitute participant may be sent in place of the original participant.

Contact Information

For help with registration, 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 Madison Fellenz, CDSS Nutrition Education Consultant, by email at