Early childhood is a rapid period of development critical to establishing lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits. The Arizona Health Zone (AZ Health Zone) promotes three SNAP-Ed policy, systems and environmental (PSE) strategies that target Early Care and Education (ECE) providers.
AZ Health Zone SNAP-Ed Early Childhood Strategies
Empower Support development, implementation, and evaluation of food and beverage and physical activity policies and environments consistent with the Empower standards.
Capacity - Nutrition Education and Healthy Meals Improve capacity of child care providers and food service staff in nutrition education and healthy meal planning and food preparation.
Capacity: Opportunities for Physical Activity Improve capacity of child care providers to provide children with opportunities for physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
Evaluation of Early Childhood Strategies
All of the AZ Health Zone Early Childhood strategies are evaluated using a mixed methods approach that includes three elements:
- An online data collection system called SEEDs collects information on what SNAP-Ed programming is being done with Early Childhood partners.
- The Semi-Annual Report Narrative (SARN) allows local agencies to describe their work with ECEs in words and images. This provides context to understand why things are developing in certain ways.
- The Go NAPSACC self-assessments collect information about the nutrition and physical activity PSEs that are implemented by ECE providers. Results tell us what SNAP-Ed programming is needed and what SNAP-Ed programming has helped to improve. This assessment is completed in even fiscal years.