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Early Years, Lasting Impact: Supporting Early Childhood Educators

About Episode 87

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The Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program (TAP), started in 2018 and is led by the Rodel Foundation and the Nemours Children’s National Office of Policy & Prevention. It uses Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding to provide support and resources to early care education providers to make positive changes in their childcare centers and family childcare homes.

Guests:
Georgia Thompson, Senior Program and Policy Analyst, National Office of Policy & Prevention, Nemours Children’s Health
Diane Frentzel, Program Manager, Delaware Readiness Teams, Rodel and Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program Lead
Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Founder, Rhonda’s Little Angels Daycare & Preschool, Delaware


Host/Producer: Carol Vassar

TRANSCRIPT:

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Welcome to Well Beyond Medicine, the Nemours Children’s Health Podcast. Each week, we’ll explore anything and everything related to the 80% of child health impacts that occur outside the doctor’s office. I’m your host, Carol Vassar, and now that you are here, let’s go.

Music:

Well Beyond Medicine!

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

We’ve heard loud and clear from our providers and our families, “We need resources and supports. We need help with the framework of what we need to do,” and so that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

That’s Diane Frentzel with the Rodel Foundation of Delaware. Diane is a program manager for the Delaware Readiness Teams under Rodel and a program lead for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program, or TAP, which we’ll talk about in-depth in this episode. In mentioning providers, Diane is referring to early care and education or ECE providers and how best to support them in preparing their youngest charges, those between the ages of birth and five, for kindergarten.

Started in 2018, Healthy Kids, Healthy Future TAP is an effort funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led by the Nemours National Office of Policy and Prevention. It gives financial support, technical assistance, training, networking, and resources such as ages and stages questionnaires, or ASQ developmental screening bags, to ECE providers to make positive changes in their childcare centers and family childcare homes.

In Delaware, one of 12 TAP-supported states, the emphasis has been on implementing programs on healthy eating and lifelong regular exercise, including the Physical Activity Learning Session or PALS program, which we’ll hear more about shortly.

Diane Frentzel joins us to discuss Healthy Kids, Healthy Future TAP, along with Georgia Thompson, senior program and policy analyst for Nemours Children’s Health, and ECE provider and PALS trainer Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle of Rhonda’s Little Angels in Seaford, Delaware.

Much of the work around Healthy Kids, Healthy Future TAP rests on the hundreds of partnerships and countless connections made with the help of Nemours and Rodel. So let’s start there, the relationship between these two organizations and what they set out to achieve in 2018. Here’s Georgia Thompson.

Georgia Thompson, Nemours Children’s Health:

Rodel is one of the 13 organizations Nemours supported and partnered with to implement Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program. So Rodel serves as the primary organization implementing the program in Delaware, and they collaborate with other state and local partners on the state action plan to achieve the goals of the program. Diane Frentzel is the Delaware state lead.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

So, Diane, I’m going to turn to you. I’d love for you to share with our listeners, so everybody knows the good work you do, about the overall mission of Rodel and how a program like this fits into that mission.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

Rodel is a nonprofit organization that’s working to build excellent and equitable education, public education, and support for all Delawareans to achieve success in school and in life. The Delaware Readiness Teams are a program that’s underneath of Rodel, and we’re focused on children, birth to age eight. Our goal is to make sure that children get the best start possible. And because we know the early years are so important, we’re working hard to impact the lives of families at the younger age.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

So tell me how this program, Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance, kind of aligns with what Rodel does overall and across the entire state of Delaware.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

We have a lot of programs that we work on from birth throughout all of the education years. We’re focused in really on a lot of the early learning pieces for this program that we’ve worked on with TAPs, and the Readiness Teams as a whole has really focused in on kindergarten readiness and registration, healthy kids and developmental screening, family empowerment and advocacy.

Pooling all of these pieces together, working with our TAPs program has really helped us do some key component things, including connecting families and early childhood providers to some of the wellness resources that are out there promoting things like developmental screening, healthy eating, and physical activity. We’ve been able to raise awareness around lead poisoning, and we’ve been able to host family and community engagement events such as some resource fairs, trainings, and information sessions.

The goal is to connect families to the resources that are out there, not to reinvent the wheel, and so we want to make sure that we continue to connect families to those resources. And I think it’s important that we all continue to use the readiness equation, our ready early learning providers plus our ready families plus our ready schools plus our ready community members is going to equal ready children.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

I want to focus on the Delaware Readiness Teams. They are, as you noted, designed to promote and align child health and wellness initiatives along with Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures TAP. Talk about more of those key components of your work. I know you talked about a few of them generally in the overall work that Rodel does, but talk about the components of this program in particular.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

So we’ve had the opportunity to implement many different types of programs as they relate to Healthy Kids. And just some examples of that is health fairs that we’ve done. We’ve had a developmental screening bag project. We’ve created postcards that have some additional Healthy Kids resources to connect families to more things that are out there. We’ve hosted some physical learning activity, train-the-trainer sessions, as well as training sessions for PALS for our providers.

We’ve participated in some equity training through the institute, through Public Health. We’ve had outdoor gardening training experience through this opportunity, as well as outdoor learning training that’s been available. And then we’ve really been working to connect larger projects such as things like developmental screening and lead awareness to all of the aspects of what’s happening.

And one of the most important components, too, has been our partnerships that are key to all of the work that we’ve been doing and how important it is to get input from everybody as we try to advance this work.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Expand on that a little bit. From what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been learning, community outreach and engagement and partnerships along the way have gone a long way toward helping you achieve the goals of embedding nutrition and physical activity into childcare settings. Talk about the importance of community and partnerships.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

So, community and partnerships are the key to what we do. As I mentioned earlier, we are firmly grounded in the readiness equation. So we bring together our early learning providers and our school representatives, communities and families, and everybody working together is how these projects shape.

So we may have an idea in mind of, we want to work on developmental screening. How can we best support this? But the reality is by getting input from everybody as we’re shaping these projects, it’s really allowed us to do things within the community and bettered everybody. We’re getting this input from everybody. We’re getting input, and we want to make sure that we’re doing what’s right for kids and families. So having the people that are living it shape the projects has really supported the work that we’ve been doing.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Now, when Rodel and Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program came together, how did that advance the work that you’ve been doing all along? What was it that was unique in that partnership that helped you get from point A to point B?

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

So the technical assistance that was provided really helped us in so many ways, and from that, we’ve really been able to connect and collaborate with other states. We’ve been able to reflect on projects a little bit deeper into some of the outcomes and the priorities that we’ve had. We’ve been able to identify and connect to some other opportunities that are happening, share resources that are either local, state, national.

And then I think one of the most important pieces of the work, it’s been guided by the CDC’s Spectrum of Opportunities Framework. And being able to talk through with our TA how to integrate our work into a broadened state systems has been so helpful in knowing how the projects that we’re doing are connected to larger pieces and things that we can have an impact on in the state. So the technical assistance has been really wonderful to advance the work that we’ve been doing.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Define technical assistance in this particular case. I’m curious how that all kind of links together. How do you define technical assistance? Maybe that’s something Georgia could help us understand better.

Georgia Thompson, Nemours Children’s Health:

Sure. So, technical assistance can come in many forms, and so it looks like a number of different ways that the national partner, being Nemours, can support the state. Maybe they need support with developing their action plan and thinking through the action steps that are necessary. Maybe they need support with identifying what key partners can help them advance their efforts and their action plan. Maybe they need to be connected with another state that is doing similar work or has done similar work and can share some lessons learned.

So it’s a matter of connecting states with a number of different supports, resources that can help them advance this action plan and achieve the goals of the program.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

And partnerships with providers of early childhood education, early childhood care seems to be really the foundation of all of this. I’m going to turn to Rhondalin, who actually is a care provider and early childhood educator and a key partner in hosting family and community engagement events during this period of time. Rhondalin, tell us more about your experiences planning, hosting the engagement events and the health fairs and how partnerships were developed or even strengthened through these events.

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Rhonda’s Little Angels:

We actually did two community health fairs with the assistance of Ms. Diane and Ms. Barbara Johnson. And I’m the type of person, if you say, “Rhondalin, what you want to do?” and I get feedback from my providers, the networks that we had, and health fairs came up.

So once we made up our mind, we were going to do a health fair, we were boots on the ground, running. The first health fair, we had between 15 and 20 vendors. It was a little smaller than our second one because it was new, and we had to find out what the community needed. Providers were responsible for lead testing, were responsible for the ASQ. So we wanted to make sure that when we did our community health fair, that targeted the community and the needs for providers, the parents, and overall, the general population that we are first.

So, we had our first health fair. The fall health fair was October 2022. It was amazing. We had vendors and healthy food. The food bank was a major supporter. They gave us free food to hand out to the children and healthy food options. We had our second county bookmobile. Ms. Tracy was there. She brought the mobile unit. They gave away free books for literacy for the children. They did free activities for the children. We had Delaware State Police Corporal Briggs. He’s a big supporter of family childcare. He does our fingerprinting for the kiddos, so he was there. The Department of Health and Social Services…

So, to me, it was fun. We had a ball from our breakdown to setup, to going around making sure every vendor had a spot. We had a blast. We did two health fairs within a six-month span. The first one, like I said, was October of 2022, and the second one was April, 2023. The second one had double attendance. We had over 25 vendors at the second health fair.

And one person that does stand out is Ms. Sherell. She attends our Delaware Readiness meetings on the regular, and she reached out to me, and she said, “Is it okay if I call you?” I said, “Sure, you can call me.” And she said, “Can I come read to your program?” I said, “Sure.” She said, “I hear what you do in your program. I love it.” She said, “Your energy. I want to come to your program.” So she came to my program.

Long story short, her AKA sorority, she’s a member of the New Sussex chapter, has adopted our daycare, and they’re committed to providing fresh fruits and vegetables every Friday for the kids to carry home with them as snacks for the weekend, and she’s helping us with a healthy snack. Arbor Day, they come in, they bring us trees to plant every year. She’s been doing this now for the last two years. So thank you, Delaware Readiness Teams, for putting us out there and just the exposure and letting people know that some family childcare, we do a lot.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

You certainly do a lot, and it sounds like you did a lot to strengthen and create new partnerships and really benefit the children that you see each and every day. So Rhondalin, I want to ask you this question. What’s been the impact on children and families, especially in your program? And also, how has all of this impacted the staff there?

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Rhonda’s Little Angels:

Well, me, I’m the type of person, Diane will tell you, if you give it to me, we’re going to use it. The PALS training, which is the physical fitness, we implemented in our program, and just having the backing. And when we did the training, a lot of parents asked us, “Why did you do an outdoor classroom? You’re indoors. What made you do an outdoor classroom?” Looking at the rate of obesity in our young children and looking at health options that a lot of kids, they run to the fast food, just offering the healthy option and seeing the different activities.

The kit that we got from PALS was targeted for ages birth through five. I’ll put it in our program. I have an under-12 age group, which is a multi-age group, so my kids are up to 12 years old. The older school-age enjoyed it just as much as the birth through five, and we all did the activities together, and we loved them. So kudos again, Readiness Team. Thank you, thank you.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Diane, tell me more about PALS. I know that Rhondalin kind of alluded to the fact that this is your physical education program if you will. Tell me more about it.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

So we were very fortunate to be able to do a PALS train-the-trainer, where we got many folks in our state the opportunity to be a trainer for the Physical Activity Learning Session. And when we got folks trained, this was wonderful, we had a lot of our people that work at the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood that also got trained. And for those that are aware, the DIEEC, the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood, is the professional development for our early learning providers in the state of Delaware.

And so the reason why this was such a big milestone in getting them trained as trainers is now they can implement the PALS training for our providers. And so we were very fortunate this year to be able to actually do a training for providers. We provided a lot of activities and materials that they could take right back to their programs and youth. We know that, especially our family childcare providers, they don’t have that many materials or that many resources, and we really wanted to make sure we were equipping them with lots of different things that they could utilize in their programs immediately.

And the other piece of it is that with the PALS training, the self-assessment and action planning is all part of that training. They use that during the training, but we also help participants really better understand how they can utilize this for improvement plans in their own program.

So when we look at our quality rating system here in the state of Delaware, many of our programs are going to be doing quality improvement plans, where they can try to get an access funding to support improvement of the quality in their programs. And what they just did at PALS training was some self-assessment and action planning on some areas with physical activity that now they can use as they move forth with some of their plans for their quality improvement.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

We’ve been talking a lot about what’s been implemented in terms of food being provided by sororities and the PALS program. What are some of the measurables that you are looking at to discern success?

Georgia Thompson, Nemours Children’s Health:

I can certainly speak to the national impact, and Diane, if you wouldn’t mind sharing some numbers at the state level. The Healthy Kids, Healthy Future TAP program, as I mentioned, has been implemented since 2018. And while we’re still in our sixth year, I would love to highlight some of the outcomes from the first five years of the project.

Each of our 12 states have achieved some type of systems change, at least one area in that CDC Spectrum of Opportunities Framework that Diane mentioned. In addition to our 12 state partners that we directly funded, we supported additional states across the country with technical systems training and other services, reaching a total of 38 states, including DC. This has impacted nearly 40,000 early care and education programs and almost two million children nationwide.

We’ve trained over 800 participants in the Physical Activity Learning Sessions training that Delaware also participated in. We have trained 300 participants in equity training. We have supported state partners with direct funding in the amount of $8 million and have provided access to technical assistance in the form of springboard opportunities like the equity training, like the PALS training, supports with GIS mapping, courses on outdoor learning environments, and more.

We’ve also created resources that have brought 450,000 global visitors to our healthykidshealthyfuture.org website. And we are just so grateful for the partnership of Delaware as well as our other states as well as the CDC that have helped us to accomplish these outcomes to lend to a healthier generation of children.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Diane, talk about what’s happened in the state of Delaware.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

A lot of the programs that we’ve done, whether it’s been training or when we’ve had some health fairs, we’ve gotten feedback from families and from those that have been participants. So we’ve really tried to take this feedback and use this information as we move forward with the work that we do. We also have lots of partners, too, over 250 partners that we’re working with and growing every day.

We’d like to connect, as Rhondalin mentioned, some of the smaller connections at one event that’s happening. We’re doing this a lot statewide, so connecting to the state libraries and doing different events with them and connecting with our Department of Education and all of the different pieces that they’re doing. So it’s really nice because we’ve been able to almost connect even additional pieces of work that’s happening.

And I think it’s important to point out here, when we’re looking at how we’re changing things and data that we’re collecting in systems, here in the state of Delaware, all licensed childcare programs are required to do annual developmental screening, and Delaware currently uses the ages and stages questionnaire, which is a parent report. And in preparing for this new legislation that’s happening with the state, we know there’s a lot of programs that are going to be using this that maybe have not before, and there’s a lot of education to help families and guide them on how to utilize this screening tool.

So one of the things that while our Department of Education’s working hard to get all of the logistic things of this developmental screening initiative working, we’re also listening to our providers and families, saying, “What do you need and how can we help you with this?” And through the Readiness Teams, we’ve heard loud and clear from our providers and our family, “We need resources and supports. We need help with the framework of what we need to do.” And so that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.

Our work with TAPs has actually allowed us to create some developmental screening bags that not only have the resources in there that go right along with the observations that happen on the ASQ, but they also allow families to take those home and we show them other things they can do with them long after the developmental screening is done.

So, we just want to make sure that we’re also incorporating these pieces. And through our developmental screening bags, we were also able to connect families to some information on health and nutrition. So we’re utilizing some of these resources to also support other areas of growth and development.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

It sounds like engagement with TAP has really shaped the future of this work all across the state of Delaware and, dare I say, across the 12 states that have participated and beyond. Diane, how do you see this work advancing in Delaware? It sounds like there’s a future here that’s been opened up wide.

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

So, we have identified so many priority areas through this work. We’ve had a lot of accomplishments, but we’ve also identified a lot of priorities. It’s just the beginning of the work of what we want to do. The TAPs work has allowed us to set up great foundation, and it’s so important that all of our early childhood organizations and partners do come together to really accelerate and integrate best practices for broader statewide systems.

And I think it’s important that everybody understands the role that they play in this work and that everybody plays an extremely important part. And so we also want to continue to make connections and develop and share resources that are going to better serve our children and families. And again, we can do that by working together to support healthy development and nutrition.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

It sounds like, Diane, this work has opened up opportunities, if you will, in areas, and I think you alluded to this, where maybe there’s additional work that needs to be done. Can you specifically tell me some of the areas that maybe you weren’t aware of before all of this started taking place back six years ago that now you’re looking at and saying, “Hey, we need some work in this area”?

Diane Frentzel, Rodel Foundation of Delaware:

Yes, so we want to continue to definitely work with developmental screening and supporting families, but also other preventative screening tests that needs to happen. I mean, we know that children need access to hearing and vision. We need to make sure that we’re connecting families to the different screening. And sometimes messaging’s a little tough, and sometimes it’s, where do you live and how do we get there? And so there is definitely so much work that needs to happen with that.

And then another thing that’s been a topic here, especially in Delaware, is lead awareness. You’re hearing stories on the news every single day about it being found in food and different spices and in water and paint. And we are going to be working and putting efforts in to really support and educate families, our early learning providers, our school.

Rhondalin mentioned earlier that they’re kind of policing that families get their lead screening, and this is true. Our early learning providers, part of their licensing requirement is that they mandate that that testing has happened. So Rhondalin, if somebody tries to come into our program and have their one-year-old visit and they try to come in there, she says, “You can’t come back to my program until you have that screening.”

As a former early learning provider myself, I was sending families to get this test. I didn’t even know why. Honestly, it was just what the licensing requirement was. And even as a parent, my own children had to get the test. I didn’t really question it, I just got it because I knew my kids had to go back to childcare. But I mean, there’s so much opportunity here to educate on the reason why we want children to get the test. It’s so important because their brains are developing, and if they are being exposed, we need to make sure that we are giving them the supports that they need.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Absolutely. Rhondalin, I want to ask you, what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned from the work here with Healthy Kids, Healthy Future TAP? And also, any additional personal stories of how the children you serve have been impacted by this work?

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Rhonda’s Little Angels:

I wouldn’t call it, Carol, lessons. I would say blessings because the children look forward to, I’m going to name a few, our literacy program. When Ms. Barbara comes, they look for their books. They want their books. They’re excited about reading in your program. To have two and three, and four-year-olds, your preschoolers and toddlers jumping up and down because Ms. Barbara is walking in with a bag of books, it moves me because we have not seen that, and it hasn’t been offered to us, the free book, and it comes to you. We don’t have to take our kids anywhere with the liability of traveling.

It comes right to our program, the kindergarten readiness packet. Our parents are so relieved. “Ms. Rhonda, do you have my packet?” I don’t have to call the district and say, “Hey, when can I get a packet? When can I get an appointment?” Everything’s right there for them. So with them having the readiness packet, everything they need and then the packet, and we don’t have to worry about it, the parents are comfortable, and they’re registered for school. And they’re registered on time, so that’s a big accomplishment.

The PALS training is another example. My children, we do a parent-child homework once a month. So we actually take something, whatever activity they choose out of our PALS kit, and we let them take it home, they use it, and they actually have their parents exercise with them. So they will FaceTime and contact Ms. Rhonda. And if homework is not, then believe me, they tell it the next morning, “Ms. Rhonda, we didn’t get homework.”

So just dialing in all the resources, all the input, anything that we, as family childcare educators… And this is something that hits home with me because I’ve been in the business over 28 years. Family childcare has always been overlooked, and the Readiness Team has let us in the door when we bring them our concerns, what we need, this resource, they’re expecting us to do this, but how are we supposed to do it? Diane and Ms. Barb take what we give them, and they bring it back and make sure that we are in the know, so it means a lot. And when you go to the Readiness Team and ask for something, it’s done.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

It sounds like parents are an important partner in all of this. We don’t want to leave them out of the mix.

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Rhonda’s Little Angels:

Yes.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Speak to that.

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Rhonda’s Little Angels:

Yes. My parents in my program, we have a proud parent committee. So we have parents that donate their time with anything that’s going on in the program. I send out surveys and get the interest of the parents as well as the children so that we’re all on the same scale. Everybody’s comfortable with what I’m implementing in the program.

When I did the PALS training, I made sure I let the parents know what it entailed, what I was doing, why I was doing it, and it helped answer some of the questions that the parents had. “The kids were saying they’re outside doing this. Can you explain to me?” So that gave me the backing that I needed for the outdoor space for the kids and us being outside for over an hour. The training that we had gave us a worksheet that gave the obesity numbers and the percentage for young children. So the parents, when we did our parent engagement, I put it right in there and I said, “Here you go. Here’s why. Ms. Rhonda’s trying to make sure that we are exercising and we’re moving.”

And we even started a garden, honey. So the kids are maintaining their own garden space. They’re eating their own fresh cucumbers. We have tomatoes this year, we have onions, we have carrot, we have broccoli. We just harvested our cabbage before it got too warm. And the same kid that told me in the beginning of the year, “I can’t stand broccoli,” are now eating fresh broccoli with ranch dressing. We don’t even have to cook it.

So it makes a difference when you put it in front of them and let them be responsible. The garden, in our curriculum, I incorporate the math of the garden. We’re measuring and adding how many more tomatoes we have today versus yesterday. How long are the zucchinis today versus last week? So it’s a good foundation for them. And they’re in the garden, it’s their garden, and they’re calling it the Magic Garden because when they leave on Friday and come back on Monday, the tomatoes that were green on Friday are now red on Monday. So they’re like, “It’s magic, Ms. Rhonda. It’s magic.”

So just being able to offer the healthy options and the wellness and all the exercise. We’re doing garden yoga, all the positions. They know how to do the frog. They know how to do the tree. So just offering them new things and something that’s creative and exciting and keeps them engaged. And when you see, when we go out for recess when they run past our playground, all the toys that are out there, to go check on their garden, and they’re like, “Ms. Rhonda, do we need to water the garden today? Do we need to get the rake so we can move the weeds away from… The strawberries look crowded today.”

So they’re paying attention, and their garden is like their little baby and my big baby because I’m overseeing it. And I tell them, “You guys, I had to watch the garden on the weekend while you’re gone.” So it’s a partnership with all of them, and we love it. We love it. And we’re sending fresh fruits and vegetables home on Fridays with our parents, also. And I have so many providers now that are like, “Rhondalin, what do I need to do to start a garden?”

So we actually have six providers now that are supposed to be starting their garden and trying to do the same things in their program, so modeling and showing that we can do it. In our busy day, we wear all the hats, but it can be done. And with the help of the children and our parents, we can do it.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

And it’s for the greater good of the health of children.

Georgia Thompson, Nemours Children’s Health:

I just think this speaks to the interconnectedness of whole child health. Hearing what Rhondalin shared about children being excited to move and to grow fruits and vegetables and to try new fruits and vegetables, that’s what it’s all about. And then thinking about how that’s connected to what Diane described in terms of readiness for school, children are ready for school when they’ve had healthy meals, when their bodies have been active, to get them ready for the day.

And it’s great to hear those stories at the local level to inspire and to continue to inform the change that needs to happen at the state level for all the state systems to align their efforts and really come together on how we can improve healthy habits for young children in early care and education settings. So we are excited at the work that we’ve been able to accomplish in partnership with Rodel, the Readiness Teams, and with providers like Rhondalin. So this is what it’s really all about.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Georgia Thompson is a senior program and policy analyst for Nemours Children’s Health. She was joined in conversation by Diane Frentzel, program manager for the Nemours Readiness Teams under the Rodel Foundation, and a program lead for Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program, along with ECE provider and PALS trainer, Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, of Rhonda’s Little Angels in Seaford, Delaware.

Music:

Well Beyond Medicine

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

CDC funding for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program is set to expire on July 31st. As Nemours and the Rodel Foundation work to find replacement funding, the program continues to bear fruit. It is distributed more than 350 developmental screening bags across the state of Delaware, and trained 17 PALS trainers to build capacity with regard to continuing efforts around physical activity in ECE settings.

Thanks to our guests today, Georgia Thompson, Diane Frentzel, and Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, for joining us on this episode of the Nemours Well Beyond Medicine podcast. And thanks as always to you for listening. You can find all of our previous podcast episodes, subscribe to the podcast, and leave a review by visiting our podcast website, nemourswellbeyond.org. That’s nemourswellbeyond.org.

Our production team for this episode includes Cheryl Munn, Che Parker, Susan Masucci, Lauren Teta, and Steve Savino. Join us next time as we highlight our recent live panel discussions featuring the work of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the office of Senator Tom Harper around our nation’s hidden helpers. I’m Carol Vassar. Until then, remember, we can change children’s health for good well beyond medicine.

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Meet Today's Guests

Carol Vassar

Host
Carol Vassar is the award-winning host and producer of the Well Beyond Medicine podcast for Nemours Children’s Health. She is a communications and media professional with over three decades of experience in radio/audio production, public relations, communications, social media, and digital marketing. Audio production, writing, and singing are her passions, and podcasting is a natural extension of her experience and enthusiasm for storytelling.

Georgia Thompson, Senior Program and Policy Analyst, National Office of Policy & Prevention, Nemours Children’s Health

Georgia Thompson is a Senior Program and Policy Analyst in the National Office of Policy & Prevention at Nemours Children’s Health. She is an early childhood education advocate and author of the children's book, My Promise to You.

Diane Frentzel, Program Manager, Delaware Readiness Teams, Rodel and Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Technical Assistance Program Lead

Diane Frentzel provides leadership and management to the Delaware Readiness Teams (DRT) statewide. Prior to joining DRT, Diane worked as a director at Bright Horizons. She has coordinated the Making a Difference Conference for Early Childhood Professionals since 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Development and Education from the University of Delaware.

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle, Founder, Rhonda’s Little Angels Daycare & Preschool, Delaware

Rhondalin Cannon-Tingle is the founder of Rhonda’s Little Angels Daycare & Preschool. She is an early childhood education (ECE) provider and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) instructor.

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