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Preschools SHINE Program

Includes the Preschools Shaping Healthy Impressions through Nutrition and Exercise (SHINE) program background information, eligibility, award levels, application process, trainings, resources, the list of certified SHINE sites, and contacts.

Overview

The California Department of Education (CDE) Preschools SHINE program is a voluntary, statewide recognition program that showcases the outstanding work of early care and education (ECE) sites (i.e., child care centers and family child care homes) in California that support the health and well-being of young children. The Preschools SHINE program consists of 10 elements that foster healthy habits during the early years of growth and development. Children at Preschools SHINE sites are served healthy meals that comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in an environment that supports optimal wellness practices for healthy growth and development.  

A Preschools SHINE site receives recognition for designing a preschool program that makes children’s health and well-being a priority. It is committed to continuous quality improvement to ensure positive child health outcomes. The site will receive a certificate of recognition and its name is posted on this CDE web page as a recognized leader in health and wellness. Families who view the web page can feel assured that the curriculum, or plan of activities, advocates an active lifestyle and healthy eating behaviors. This web page was updated as of February 2020.

Background and History

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, putting children at risk for poor health. Research shows that overweight and obese preschoolers are at increased risk for becoming overweight or obese as adults, leading to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Childhood obesity occurs for a variety of reasons; however, according to the CDC, topping the list of causes are unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity. Studies indicate that children who are overweight when they enter kindergarten are four times more likely to have obesity in the eighth grade than their peers who are at a normal weight, and that childhood weight status tracks into adulthood.

The scientific report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee cites evidence that using a combination of dietary and physical activity interventions in child care settings is effective for reducing the proportion of preschool children who become overweight or obese. These interventions include providing nutrition education, improving the nutrition quality of meals and snacks, and increasing physical activity.

ECE sites are an ideal setting for obesity prevention efforts. Nationally, 14 percent of preschoolers are categorized as obese, which justifies the need for obesity prevention efforts that broadly reach young children. The CDC reported that no other setting (outside of the home) rivals the reach ECE has for young children with respect to food and drink intake and opportunities for encouraging physical activity. Screen time limitations and the development of healthy habits also adds to prevention efforts. Improving the practices and policies of ECE providers can directly affect what children eat and drink and how active they are. The improvements can also help children develop a foundation of healthy habits.

To support efforts to reduce early childhood obesity, the CDE created the Preschools SHINE recognition program.

Eligibility and Award Levels

ECE sites (i.e., child care centers and family child care homes) in California that participate in a federal Child Nutrition Program (CNP) (e.g., National School Lunch Program, CACFP) and have at least 50 percent of children aged two to five years old enrolled at an ECE site may submit an application for Preschools SHINE recognition for each site that meets the eligibility requirements. The level of Preschools SHINE certification depends on how many elements the ECE site completes.

Preschools SHINE Elements

The Preschools SHINE program consists of 10 elements that foster healthy habits during the early years of growth and development. To be designated a Preschools SHINE site, the ECE site must meet criteria within the Preschools SHINE elements, which reflect current nutrition and physical activity standards designed to result in healthy outcomes for preschoolers.

The ten Preschools SHINE criteria are listed below.

Levels of Certification

The Preschools SHINE program is structured so all ECE sites can achieve a beginning certification level (Bronze) by completing the criteria within six elements: the four required Preschools SHINE elements and two elective elements. Over time, additional improvements made to the ECE site’s wellness environment qualifies the ECE site to reach higher certification levels (Silver and Gold). This tiered approach allows a site to implement more elements gradually to achieve higher levels of certification.

The criteria within the following four elements must be completed to apply for any level of Preschools SHINE certification:

Once the criteria in Elements 1, 4, 7, and 10 are met:

  • To achieve the Bronze level certification, an ECE site must meet the criteria within two additional elective elements out of the remaining six elements.

  • To achieve the Silver level certification, an ECE site must meet the criteria within four additional elective elements out of the remaining six elements.

  • For the Gold level certification, an ECE site must meet the criteria for all 10 elements.

Applying

Preschool SHINE Application

To submit an application for Preschools SHINE recognition, please complete the Preschools SHINE application External link opens in new window or tab..  

Please note: The CDE will review each ECE site’s application and determine whether the ECE site meets the criteria to receive a Preschools SHINE Certificate of Recognition. One application must be submitted for each ECE site. The application review process may take up to 6 weeks. The CDE will send written notification to applicants to inform them of its decision.

Renewal of Certificate of Recognition

Before the 4-year certification period expires, previously certified Preschools SHINE sites are encouraged to resubmit the Preschools SHINE application External link opens in new window or tab. to request renewal of Preschools SHINE certification. The CDE will review each application and determine whether the ECE site continues to meet the criteria for renewal of Preschools SHINE certification. The CDE will send written notification to applicants to inform them of its decision.

Recognition

Issuance of Certificate of Recognition

To receive a Preschools SHINE Certificate of Recognition, the ECE site must meet all program elements and criteria within the chosen level of certification: Bronze, Silver, or Gold. Preschools SHINE Certificates of Recognition are effective for four years, as long as the ECE site continues to meet the criteria within the required and elective Preschools SHINE elements.

Responsibilities of a Preschools SHINE Site

When an ECE site has achieved Preschools SHINE certification, it must continue to demonstrate the high standards set forth in the Preschools SHINE program.

To maintain Preschools SHINE certification, the ECE site must fulfill the following conditions:

  1. Continue to meet the Preschools SHINE Elements and Criteria.
  2. Maintain the Leadership Team.
  3. Serve as a touring agency and allow local, state, and national visitors and dignitaries to visit the ECE site upon request.

Renewal of Certificate of Recognition

Before the 4-year certification period expires, previously certified Preschools SHINE sites are encouraged to submit a Preschools SHINE application External link opens in new window or tab. to request renewal of Preschools SHINE certification. The CDE will review each application and determine whether the ECE site continues to meet the criteria for renewal of Preschools SHINE certification. The CDE will send written notification to applicants to inform them of its decision.

Trainings

In-person Workshops
Online Courses
Additional Online Training Databases

In-person Workshops

The following in-person workshops are approved to credit toward the 15 hours of professional development to meet the criteria in Preschools SHINE Element 7, Professional Development.

Nutrition and Physical Activity Forums

The Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA) Forums highlight and demonstrate methods for integrating nutrition education, edible gardens, wellness policies, and physical activity into child care center classrooms and family child care homes. Participants will learn ways to create learning environments that maximize opportunities for children to develop healthy eating habits and to move their bodies to learn. These forums provide a unique platform where early childhood educators can express challenges and develop solutions toward supporting active living and healthy eating environments.

Participants will receive 7.5 professional development hours.

To register for the NPA Forums, visit the California Preschool Instructional Network Child Care NPA Forums web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Meal Quality Forums

The Meal Quality (MQ) Forums focus on enhancing the nutrition environment of early child care programs through improved food preparation and service. The forums highlight healthy meal planning, food purchasing, food preparation, culinary skills, recipe development, and safety. Participants will be exposed to a variety of recipes and techniques to assist with the creation of meals to bolster health and wellness. These forums provide a unique platform where cooks from early child care programs will engage in culinary techniques in a professional kitchen environment.

Participants will receive 6.0 professional development hours.

To register for the MQ Forums, visit the California Preschool Instructional Network Child Care MQ Forums web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Promoting Integrity Now Training

The Promoting Integrity Now (PIN) training is a free two-day training developed to strengthen managerial and operational practices, and provide regulatory and nutritional information to CACFP child care center staff. The two-day training covers eligibility and enrollment requirements, monitoring and training requirements, financial management, basic nutrition and child nutrition, recordkeeping, and administrative reviews.

Participants will receive 14.0 professional development hours.

To register for the PIN Training, visit the Fresno City College (FCC) California Professional Nutrition Education and Training Center’s (Cal-Pro-NET) PIN web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Online Courses

The following online courses are approved to credit toward the 15 hours of professional development to meet the criteria in Preschools SHINE Element 7, Professional Development.

Course
Number
Course Name Training Topic Target
Audience
Professional
Development Hours

FCC Cal-Pro NET
(External Source)

Nutrition Fundamentals Course: Overview Modules 1-6 External link opens in new window or tab.
General Nutrition
Early Childhood Education Staff
3.0
FCC Cal-Pro NET
(External Source)
Preschool Nutrition and Active Physical Play Course: Overview Modules 1-6 External link opens in new window or tab.
General Nutrition
Early Childhood Education Staff
3.0
FCC Cal-Pro NET
(External Source)
Food Safety Course: Overview Modules 1-5 External link opens in new window or tab.
General Nutrition
Early Childhood Education Staff
2.5
FCC Cal-Pro NET
(External Source)
Mealtime Environment Course: Overview Modules 1-3 External link opens in new window or tab.
Nutrition Education
Early Childhood Education Staff
1.5

Additional Online Training Databases

The following online training databases include courses that may be approved to credit toward the 15 hours of professional development to meet the criteria in Preschools SHINE Element 7, Professional Development. To request approval for professional development activities completed in these databases, or from another source, contact the Preschools SHINE staff by email at PreschoolsSHINE@cde.ca.gov or by phone at 916-324-0578.

Resources

The resources listed in the table below are to be used by Preschools SHINE applicants to assist with applying for the Preschools SHINE program. Additional resources to help implement the criteria within each of the Preschools SHINE elements are listed in the fact sheets for each element.

Resource Description
Self-Assessment (PDF) Tool used to evaluate the nutrition and physical activity environment at an ECE site to identify strengths and areas for improvement so that a plan of action can be developed.
Action Plan (PDF) Tool used to develop a plan to improve the child care environment so children develop healthy and active lifestyle habits by strengthening areas identified on the Preschools SHINE self-assessment as needing improvement.
SHINE Application External link opens in new window or tab. Online application for ECE sites that are applying for Preschools SHINE certification for the first time and for current Preschools SHINE sites that are applying to renew their Preschools SHINE certification.
Fact Sheet for Element 1 List of the criteria that an ECE site must meet for Element 1 (Federal Child Nutrition Program Participation) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 2 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 2 (Meal Quality) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 3 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 3 (Mealtime Environment) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 4 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 4 (Nutrition Education) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 5 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 5 (Edible Gardening) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 6 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 6 (Physical Activity) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 7 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 7 (Professional Development) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 8 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 8 (Wellness Policies) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 9 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 9 (Partnerships) and helpful guidance.
Fact Sheet for Element 10 List of the criteria that an ECE must meet for Element 10 (Leadership Team) and helpful guidance.

Certified Sites

The following ECE sites provide high-quality nutrition and physical activity environments and have received a Preschools SHINE Certificate of Recognition, effective for the timeframe listed below.

Alameda County

  • Little Stars Preschool, San Leandro (Gold) September 2, 2016—August 31, 2020

El Dorado County

  • El Dorado County Office of Education, Tahoe Center (Gold), June 1, 2017–May 31, 2021
  • Green Valley Preschool, Rescue (Gold) January 1, 2017–December 31, 2020
  • Happy Kids Preschool and Childcare, Placerville (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020
  • SETA Head Start—Hopkins Park, Placerville (Gold) August 1, 2017–July 31, 2021

Humboldt County

  • Fortuna Head Start, Fortuna (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020
  • Jefferson Head Start, Eureka (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020

Los Angeles County

  • Little Treehouse Academy—Teremok, Northridge (Silver) November 1, 2018–October 31, 2022
  • Palmdale School District, Antelope Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Avenue J Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Chaparral Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Highland Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Mesquite Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Ocotillo Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Palm Tree Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Site 18, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Tamarisk Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Tierra Bonita Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Tumbleweed Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Wilsona Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021
  • Palmdale School District, Yucca Site, Palmdale (Silver) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021

Placer County

  • Cheri Quishenbery Home Family Child Care, Lincoln (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020
  • Little Blue Schoolhouse, Lincoln (Silver) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020
  • The Play House Child Development Program, Lincoln (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020

Sacramento County

  • Alphabet Ranch Inc., Sacramento (Gold), July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • Arista, Elk Grove (Gold) July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • Associated Students of California State University, Sacramento (Silver) September 1, 2018–August 31, 2022
  • Cosumnes River College, Sacramento (Gold) July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • Cyril Spenelli Child Development Center, Antelope (Gold) July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • First Steps—Early Education and Childcare, Rancho Cordova (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020
  • Happy Camper Preschool and Childcare Center, Folsom (Gold) June 1, 2017–May 31, 2021
  • Job Corps Head Start, Sacramento (Gold) July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • Ken Lowry Child Development Center, Sacramento (Gold) August 1, 2017–July 31, 2021
  • Little Blue Schoolhouse, Sacramento (Gold) July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • Moore Learning Preschool and Childcare, Elk Grove (Gold), March 1, 2017–February 28, 2021
  • Poppyfield Family Child Care Home, Citrus Heights (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020
  • SETA Head Start—Hopkins Park, Sacramento (Silver) August 1, 2017–July 31, 2021
  • SETA Head Start—Phoenix Park, Sacramento (Silver) January 1, 2017–December 31, 2020
  • SETA Head Start—Strizek Park, North Highlands (Silver) November 1, 2016–October 31, 2020
  • Sunrise Tech Center—Sunrise Wrap Program (Room 1), Citrus Heights (Bronze) June 1, 2017–May 31, 2021
  • This Little Genius, Sacramento (Gold) November 1, 2017–October 31, 2021

San Diego County

  • Baby Angels Center #2, Chula Vista (Silver) June 1, 2017–May 31, 2021
  • Little Angels Child Development Center, Chula Vista (Silver) June 1, 2017–May 31, 2021

Yolo County

  • Ark Preschool, Woodland (Gold) September 1, 2018–August 31, 2022
  • Maxwell State Preschool, Woodland (Silver) July 1, 2017–June 30, 2021
  • Precious Pumpkins, Woodland (Gold) September 1, 2017–August 31, 2021
  • United Christian Centers, West Sacramento (Gold) September 1, 2016–August 31, 2020

Contact

For questions regarding this subject, please contact the CDE Preschools SHINE staff by email at PreschoolsSHINE@cde.ca.gov.

Follow @CDENutrition on Twitter.

Questions:   Preschools SHINE Program | PreschoolsSHINE@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Friday, March 13, 2020
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