Camden County Early Care and Education (ECE) professionals recently kicked off a yearlong Learning Collaborative, “NJ Children Taking Steps to Healthy Success.” Special guests at the training included the NJ Division of Family Development, the NJ Office of Licensing, The Food Bank, The Food Trust and Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
The trainings are part of a Nemours-funded project that provides training and technical assistance to assist ECEs to implement healthy eating and active play best practices. The New Jersey Department of Health, Office of Fitness and Nutrition, in collaboration with the New Jersey Association for Resource & Referral Agencies, are developing five regional learning collaboratives throughout New Jersey:
1) North – Hudson and Passaic Counties
2) Essex County
3) Central – Union, Middlesex and Mercer Counties
4) Camden County
5) South – Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties
Each collaborative consists of 30 ECEs, which will participate in five trainings during the year. During these trainings, ECE staff participates in fun and engaging group activities that they will bring back and apply in their classrooms.
The learning collaboratives use an empowerment model designed to support the growth of leadership, collaboration and confidence of ECE providers as they learn, change, grow and become champions for children’s health, development and learning. The National Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative (ECELC) will begin with a focus on obesity prevention but participants will be able to continue to use the quality improvement processes they learn to focus on additional children’s health topics in the future.