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Early care and education (ECE) providers play a crucial role in increasing children’s well-being. By investing in our ECE providers, we can improve health now, as well as set children up for successful and healthy futures.

Partnership With the CDC

In 2012, Nemours Children’s Health partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to form the National Early Child Care Collaboratives (NECCC). The NECCC includes groups of experts in ECE settings. The NECCC supports communities launching initiatives focused on child wellness and disease prevention. 

To date, the NECCC has reached approximately 134,000 young children in 1,300 early care and education settings. 

Childhood Obesity Prevention Program

Girls in swim caps and goggles are in the water, they hold onto the wall

ECE leaders are in a unique position to prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy living. In its first year, the NECCC created a project to promote healthy eating and physical activity in early care and education settings.

Each collaborative held a series of five in-person workshops. These trainings helped ECE providers learn best practices to promote healthy eating and physical activity, as well as exchange ideas. This strategy brought ECE providers together to learn from each other and empowered them to make significant, sustainable change.

Proven results in decreasing childhood obesity

At year one, participating ECE programs saw a:

  • 9.2% increase in compliance with the Let’s Move! Child Care (LMCC) guidelines
  • 12% increase in compliance with the Go Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (Go NAP SACC) best practices

Improving Early Literacy

Dad reads to toddler who sits on his lap and holds the book at home before bedtime

Research has shown that the foundation for literacy starts early. If children aren’t reading at grade level by the end of first grade, they only have about a 10% chance of catching up by fourth grade.

The Nemours Children’s BrightStart! (NBS!) program is an early literacy program that promotes foundational early literacy skills. The program includes:

  • Screening tools to identify children’s reading readiness
  • Stronger reading programs
  • Trainings for ECE providers on early literacy

Early literacy results

To-date, we have reached more than 175,000 children in 26 states. NBS! has proven results. Using the curriculum has led to:

  • Early literacy gains of more than 110% for at-risk kindergarteners
  • Two-thirds of at-risk kindergarteners closing the literacy gap with their peers
  • Many children continuing on a successful path and passing their third-grade state reading assessment

Partnerships With Medicaid

Grandmother holds sleeping child in a chair, child wears head covering and has a stuffed animal

We have also provided technical assistance to bring together Medicaid and ECE partners. Our initiatives have focused on sharing information and resources to support families served by both Medicaid and ECE agencies. 

Strengthening this partnership leads to better use of resources, enhanced communication and better health outcomes for children. For example, we can improve early interventions for developmental delays or disabilities and address social determinants of health.

Some of our specific initiatives have included: 

  • Empowering ECE providers to refer children for nutritional counseling 
  • Identifying case management overlap opportunities between Medicaid and Head Start programs 
  • Sharing developmental screening results to avoid duplication 
  • Sharing collected data about social determinants of health 

Healthy Kids, Healthy Future

Early care educators are uniquely positioned to improve children’s health. When you help improve children’s health, you’re helping to create a better future. Find more tools for helping children have a healthy start.

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