Preventing Obesity by Design Texas (OLE! Texas)

May 2016

POD Texas is a multidisciplinary intervention to create an early childhood health promotion strategy through renovated childcare center outdoor learning environments (OLEs) that support physical activity, nutrition, and learning outcomes for young children. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) in the College of Design at NC State University are partnering to develop this innovative POD Texas project. The project will bring to Texas the following components.

Texas Professional Development Opportunities

Outdoor Learning Environment Design - Online Certificate

WHAT - A non-credit, distance learning course for landscape design professionals and academic institutions teaching design-related disciplines (landscape architecture, horticulture, extension agents, etc.)
WHY - Participants will: • Learn about design methods that encourage 0-5 year old children attending childcare centers to be active, connect with nature, practice motor development skills, and support outdoor learning • Earn 2.4 (approximately 24 hours over 4 months) Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) from North Carolina State University
WHEN - Pilot program: Fall 2016. Modules can be completed at your own pace in a period of up to 4 months.

POD Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Series and Development of a Demonstration Site

WHAT - A hybrid (online/face-to-face) series, facilitated by NLI that will train a number of interested environmental designers to expand the reach of POD Texas to local communities.
WHY - Trainers will: • Learn about POD’s participatory design process • Develop and implement, collaboratively with NLI, a high-quality OLE that will function as a demonstration site.
WHEN - August 2016 - August 2017. Participatory design process conducted in approximately 3 months.

Texas Policy Review

Risk and Regulatory Compliance Policy Review

WHAT - A constructive review of current Texas policies by NLI and DSHS that will determine how high-quality OLE’s across Texas can be created in Texas.
WHY - Reviewers will: • Clarify terms and requirements of current childcare Texas policies • Collect data from early childhood education stakeholders to understand their needs related to OLE risk and regulatory compliance • Disseminate information about compliant creative solutions to improve childcare outdoor environments
WHEN - Available to stakeholders on September 1, 2017.

Available to download: Regulatory Framework for Outdoor Learning Environments in Texas Childcare Facilities: A Practitioner’s Guide to State Laws, Regulations, and Policies Associated with 18 Early Childhood Play and Learning Settings at Childcare Centers and Childcare Homes

The information contained in this document was the most current available at the time the document was created. Please read the disclaimer at the front of the document prior to using the guide.