Preventing Obesity by Design (POD4)
POD4 is a statewide program addressing the need for resources and systematic training opportunities to help higher education instructors and early childhood professionals embark on creating healthy outdoor environments for young children.
Partners include community college faculty, early childhood technical assistance providers, childcare center owners and staff, the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), and the NC Institute of Child Development Professionals (NCICDP).
Building on evaluation results and lessons learned from prior POD projects, evidence-based, implementation strategies are applied to renovate and enhance the outdoor learning environment (OLE) of community college child development centers. Key strategies include:
- Using the NLI Childcare Outdoor Learning Environment Quality Tool (COLEQT) to measure OLE Best Practice Indicators;
- Integration of the NLI online Higher Education OLE Module system into the NC Community College Curriculum Library for use by instructors;
- Establishment of Community College Childcare OLE Demonstration Sites for onsite student training and post-professional development programs;
- Creation of two NLI Certificate Programs, offered through NC State University McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education:
- Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate for early childhood educators.
- Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments Certificate for landscape designers.
The Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) Certificate Program transfers knowledge about participatory design processes and tools to improve childcare outdoor learning environments with the objective of supporting healthy, active lifestyles, and learning in nature for young children.
The certificate is delivered as a hybrid model. Distance education through the Center for Continuing Education, McKimmon Center, Office of Professional Development, offers the certificate as a non-credit education opportunity. A face-to-face education session is conducted in association with the NLI Annual Design Institute, and as pre-conference activities at the NCAEYC and SmartStart Annual conferences.
The OLE Certificate Program is comprised of units based on the Outdoor Learning Environment Toolkit guide with an emphasis on the implementation of best practice indicators, including:
- Review of latest environment and behavior research regarding healthy outdoor spaces at childcare.
- Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) overview.
Program mission, history, process, and areas of activity.
- Best Practice Indicators. Part 1.
Describes 6 (out of 12) best practice and incremental development steps to create high quality outdoor learning environments.
- Best Practice Indicators. Part 2.
Describes 6 (out of 12) best practice and incremental development steps to create high quality outdoor learning environments
- Implementing the vision.
Describes step-by-step process from site documentation to master plan production.
- Managing Site Naturalization.
Explains fundamental tasks involved in managing naturalization.
- Community Engagement and Fundraising.
Describes the process of building community support and generating financial support and non-monetary resources to implement POD initiatives.
- Final Project.
Facilitates the application of concepts and processes to implement a POD project using participatory design processes.
Certificate program qualifies for NC State University McKimmon Center Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
- OLE Best Practice Indicator Scale coding with feedback
The OLE Best Practice Indicator Scale helps early childhood educators and other professionals to visualize levels of development of OLE sites providing visual and written feedback. Online tutorials and videoclips show affordable solutions, and demonstrate appropriate management practices.
- Online OLE Higher Education Modules
Modules developed by POD3 for Higher Education Institutions are available for academic institutions beyond the Community College Online Syllabus Library through a dedicated website containing online tutorials and link to educational resources.
- Demonstration Sites at Community Colleges
As a follow up of the POD3 Community College component and the creation of Professional Development Modules for Higher Education, POD4 supports seven Demonstration Sites at Community Colleges for the benefit of enrolled children, instructors, and students, who learn first hand about the importance of OLEs for healthy child development.
- Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) Certificate Program
The Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) Certificate Program transfers knowledge about participatory design processes and tools to improve childcare outdoor learning environments with the objective of supporting healthy, active lifestyles, and learning in nature for young children. The program emphasizes the implementation of best practices for healthy childhood environments and provide participants with continuing education credit.