Early care and education

Many Louisiana children spend time in early care and education (ECE) settings, including child care centers, day care homes, Head Start programs, preschool and pre-kindergarten programs.  These are critical places for children to learn healthy habits that can last a lifetime.  ECEs have a great opportunity to take care of children’s developing minds and growing bodies. Well-Ahead Louisiana works to support healthier ECE settings through partnership development and technical assistance to facilities and communities, ensuring a healthy start to a healthy future. 

Did You Know? 

Early Care and Education 411

Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity.  This includes parents, elected officials, schools, child care providers, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, as well as private sector companies. Well-Ahead Louisiana encourages these partners to work together to create healthy ECE environments.  Well-Ahead uses the CDC’s framework, Spectrum of Opportunities, to support child care and early education facilities in achieving the recommended standards and best practices for obesity prevention. Each opportunity represents a unique avenue that can be implemented to improve nutrition, support breastfeeding, increase physical activity, and reduce screen time in ECE facilities.

Take Action to Support Healthy Child Care Centers

Well-Ahead Louisiana helps ECEs take action to positively impact the health of the children they serve, as well as the health of their employees.  Creating a healthy ECE facility is easier than you think! Your ECE can implement smart, healthy changes with the resources below.  

Child Care Center WellSpot Designation

Through our WellSpot Designation Program, Well-Ahead works with child care centers to help them meet wellness benchmarks. Wellness benchmarks for child care centers include things like going tobacco-free, becoming breastfeeding friendly, or implementing a NAP SACC action plan. 

To find out more about becoming a Child Care Center WellSpot, click here and explore! Well-Ahead Louisiana has identified resources that can assist child care centers in making healthy changes. Check out them out here


Over 200 Louisiana child care centers have participated in GO NAP SACC. Well-Ahead Louisiana works with Partners for Family Health to implement Go NAP SACC, an evidenced-based program that promotes healthy weight in preschool children by assessing child care centers’ current practices related to nutrition and physical activity. The program promotes healthy weight development in preschool children by improving:

  • the quality of food served,
  • the amount and quality of physical activity,
  • staff-child interactions,
  • facility nutrition and physical activity policies and practices, and
  • related environmental characteristics.

Child Care Health Consultants

Child Care Health Consultants can assist Louisiana child care centers in meeting annual licensure requirements for education and training on health and safety topics. Click here to learn more. 


Playground Stencils

Paint your child care center's playground! Playground stencils are an innovative, low-cost way to improve playgrounds. Playground stencils are designed to create painted playgrounds and enhance outdoor physical activity opportunities for children. Stencils provide an excellent opportunity for children to get physically active and practice developmentally appropriate movement such as balance, loco-motor skills, and spatial awareness. They are reusable and are impacting hundreds of Louisiana children!

Click here to check out how Church Point Elementary School in Acadia Parish painted their playground! Well-Ahead has several playground stencils available.  Stencils provide an excellent opportunity for children to get physically active and practice balance, loco-motor skills, and spatial awareness. Email wellahead@la.gov to learn how your child care center can borrow our stencils!

The Playground Stencil Project is a collaborative effort of Well-Ahead Louisiana, Partners for Healthy Families, Tulane University, and Pennington Biomedical Research Center. 

Louisiana Screen Time Toolkit

Screen time is any time spent using electronic devices, including TV, videos, DVDs, computers, tablets, video games and handheld devices.  Children spend an average of seven hours per day using electronic devices (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016).  For growing bodies and developing minds, it is important to limit screen time use. 

This toolkit provides resources your center can use to write, implement and educate on the electronic devices policy and highlights resources for you to review that will help you as you work to limit and reduce screen time in your center. Click here to check it out!