American Heart Association logoAmerican Heart Association

Early Childcare Education

teacher with young children sitting in a circle outdoors

With 60 percent of American children spending a majority of their day in early childhood programs, helping early childhood programs (serving children from birth through age five) improve and sustain nutrition, physical activity, screen time, infant feeding, sleep habits, staff wellness, and family engagement is critically important to ensure children have the chance to be healthy from the start. Our work in early childcare programs has provided support to participating centers through subject matter experts and guides policy change as centers implement key wellness components.

In 2013, the American Heart Association launched Healthy Way to Grow (HWTG) in collaboration with Nemours Children’s Health System as a national, science-based, early childhood technical assistance program designed to help improve practices and policies for obesity prevention. The program quickly expanded beyond the inaugural 6 communities and continues to reach others across the U.S. If you are interested in bringing HWTG to your early childhood program, community, or state connect with us by sending an inquiry.

Our work guides policy change.

About Early Childcare

About Us

For information on early successes, check out Evaluation of “Healthy Way to Grow”: An Obesity prevention Program in Early Care and Education Centers published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in 2020.

In 2021, Healthy Way to Grow as a joint initiative of both the American Heart Association and Nemours was officially sunset, but our commitment to ensuring children have the healthiest start in life has never been stronger.

If you were previously a participating childcare center and are looking for workbook access or additional support, how we can help you?

Current Healthy Way to Grow Grant Recipients
  1. St Louis, MO
  2.  Cape Cod, MA
  3.  Salt Lake City, UT
  4.  Reno, NV
  5.  Kansas City, KS
  6.  Chicago, IL
  7.  Rochester, NY
  8.  Scranton, PA
  9.  Denver, CO
  10. Phoenix, AZ
  11. Tucson, AZ
  12. Pittsburgh, PA
  13. Providence, RI

For close to a decade, we have worked with a wide range of childcare centers from Early Head Start and Head Start, family childcare, faith-based organizations, military bases, tribal communities, school districts, small businesses, community organizations and more, helping ensure children, caregivers and parents have the tools needed to build healthy habits through a systemic approach to addressing health and wellness in early life.