Wellness Around Traditional Community Health
WATCH was designed to improve the health and quality of life for children ages 3 to 5 years living in American Indian communities and focused on health, wellness, and community. Our program provided resources to our 3Ps: Parents, Preschool teachers, and Providers at clinics. The resources we offer provide education on healthy eating practices as well as physical activity that will lower children’s risk of obesity and other long-term diseases. WATCH created consistent healthy messaging for American Indian children in our communities and helped build a bridge in communication by implementing the OrganWise Guys curriculum at ECE’s and in Tribal pediatric clinics. WATCH was a program collaboration of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. WATCH was funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tribal Epidemiology Center Public Health Infrastructure (TECPHI) grant.
Welcome to the Wellness Around Traditional Community Health webpage. Below is an introduction video about how our program would be implemented in a community. It goes over what goes into choosing a site, how we implement different components, and different surveys to make sure we are tailoring the program best for the communities.
The first communities we implemented in were the Eastern Shawnee and Wyandotte communities, then the Cheyenne and Arapaho communities. Lastly, we implemented in the Kiowa and Comanche communities.
If you would like to read a more in-depth process of how to implement, please look at our Manual of Procedures on the program resources page.
OUR GOALS FOR WATCH:
To develop, implement and evaluate a culturally relevant, multi-stakeholder intervention for tribal early childcare, education programs and tribal clinics to:
- Create healthy spaces for young children to learn and grow
- Increase communication and relationships with our 3 Ps: Parents, Preschool teachers, and Providers at the Clinics
- Promote healthy weight and growth
- Increase healthy behaviors of families
WATCH provides resources and materials to improve health for each of our stakeholders by allowing the tribal community to pick their areas of focus:
PRESCHOOL TEACHERS receive the OrganWise Guys® (OWG) curriculum, lesson plans, Foods of the Month education from the OWG curriculum, and training on responsive feeding. Each center will receive best practice menu modification recommendations.
PROVIDERS in the CLINICS receive OWG education materials to display in the waiting room, OWG videos to play in the waiting area, OWG patient education and health trackers. Additionally, training topics covered by Dr. Ashley Weedn, MD, MPH, FAAP, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center include obesity sensitivity, clinic efficiency, and motivational interviewing.
PARENTS are encouraged to participate in Family WATCH nights that utilize the National Institutes of Health’s EatPlayGrow™ curriculum. A parent toolkit was developed for the purpose of increasing nutrition and physical activity in the family home.
WATCH has many components and resources for our stakeholders, they have the option to select and modify the components available to them and implement based on the wants and needs of their community.
Year 1: 2018
- September 2018- May 2019, we partnered with Wyandotte Nation, Eastern Shawnee, and Bearskin Clinic in Northeastern Oklahoma. This year we utilized the OWG curriculum in the ECEs during the 16-week Spring semester and provided the clinic with materials to display and play an OWG video in their waiting room. We learned to effective communication varies with tribal leadership and being responsive and flexible to the individual community needs are more important.
Year 2: 2019
- October 2019-April 2020, WATCH expanded into the Cheyenne and Arapaho community in western Oklahoma. With this expansion the program implemented in multiple head starts, multiple clinics, and saw increased parent engagement. Learning from year 1, Teachers were given a modified curriculum with 8 lessons over 16 weeks, providers were given materials for all 3 clinics, and our staff developed and presented family WATCH nights for parents at the Concho and Canton Head Starts. COVID-19 restrictions created barriers and limited community engagement, but midway through implementation the program was able to provide two WATCH nights in which teachers stated enjoying the curriculum that was given. In addition, WATCH provided 138 take home Parent toolkits to help families remain physically active and gave insight on healthy nutrition practices.
Year 3: 2020
- Due to COVID-19 all programmatic events had to be put on hold until WATCH was able to go back into the community.
Year 4: 2021
- October 2020 – September 2021, during this time, WATCH staff focused heavily on completing internal evaluation measures and improving data collection methods. Many documents were created to help with a smoother implementation process. WATCH staff reacquainted themselves within the Cheyenne and Arapaho communities and began community capacity building for a new menu implementation. This consisted of surveys and interviews conducted with the head starts and child development center directors as well as food preparation personnel to help gauge their level of capacity to integrate a Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) compliant menu.
Year 5: 2022
- October 2021 – September 2022, WATCH began menu implementation and provided a CACFP compliant menu, shopping list, and recipe book for every month. We implemented the WATCH curriculum at the health care centers and head starts and provided multiple trainings to the staff. As the last programmatic year of WATCH, staff began working towards making all components of the program sustainable and accessible to stakeholders. WATCH plans to heavily utilize the website as a resource hub for all programmatic resources. Furthermore, all components on the website will be made available to download or per request. These resources include: 12 months of CACFP compliant menus, recipe books and shopping lists, Four comprehensive family health night packets for teachers and directors, Training modules and videos catering to teachers and directors for menu development, Responsive feeding modules, OrganWise Guys implementation videos, a Picky eater guide for parents, and many more resources!
Our program resources are meant to be used as tools to help implementation within our different stakeholder groups. This is not a definitive list of all of the resources used within this program, but these are the documents we have found to be the most helpful. A full list can be located in our Manual of Procedure.
Manual of Procedure:
Our Manual of Procedures (MOP) is a handbook that guides the Wellness Around Traditional Community Health (WATCH) program’s conduct and operations. It acts as the program protocol by detailing the program organization, operational data definitions, recruitment, screening, enrollment, intervention, follow-up procedures, data collection methods, data flow, and quality control measures. The purpose of the MOP is to facilitate consistency in program implementation and data collection across participants and community partner sites. Procedures in the MOP should be followed with the same degree of rigor as those documented in the protocol.
Community Capacity tools:
The community capacity tool is used prior to implementation to gauge readiness among our community partners. For food prep personnel, it is intended to develop a best practice menu before the first day of school. For teachers this is intended to gather information about physical activity lesson plans, establish or continue cultural and traditional practices related to nutrition and physical activity, and learn about community engagement of parents and healthcare providers within their respective community. For providers it is intended to collect information about current cultural practices within their healthcare setting, community outreach, and current physical activity and nutrition information or resources provided to parents. The interviews for each partner are a follow-up to the community capacity survey and provide time for them to give in-depth feedback.
Community Capacity Tools – Teachers & Directors
Community Capacity Tools – Food Prep Personnel
Menu feedback form
The menu feedback form is to gain insight from the food prep personnel about utilizing the best practice menus. With this feedback WATCH staff can provide technical assistance and address the topics within the form. This can include troubleshooting about what snacks and meals concern them, what menu items they are enthusiastic about, and how well it is being received by children. This form initiates communication and establishes a regular monthly check-in about best practice menu principles.
When implementing in a community, each year looks different. All communities have the same foundational pieces of the program but can be done on different timelines. Below is an example of what implementation could look like in a community. It is not a cut and paste schedule but shows all of the components and when they would ideally be done if the program were to start at the beginning of the school year. The fall semester would focus on training and gathering data to ensure that all pieces of the program can be effectively implemented. The spring semester is when lesson plan implementation would ideally happen, and evaluation and technical assistance would be available during this time as well. If you would like downloadable versions of any of our documents, please see the request form at the bottom of the page to request access to these documents.
Family Health Nights
The WATCH family nights are interactive nights planned throughout the semester which are coordinated with already established ECE parent teacher nights. Each night is designed to promote the NIH’s Eat, Play, Grow Components from the Organwise Guys curriculum are utilized when planning each event. One night is dedicated to a specific theme which can be physical activity, nutrition, or a food demonstration. The duration of each night depends on the established agenda and can vary due to planned activities and housekeeping.
Examples of WATCH family night curriculum and activities on various topics including nutrition and physical activity can be accessed below.
Safety in the Kitchen
Responsive Feeding Training
Dr. Dipti Dev, Child Health Behavior Specialist from the University of Nebraska –Lincoln, leads our teachers through a module of the Ecological Approach To (EAT) Family Style Dining while feeding children at ECEs and Head Starts within the WATCH communities. She uses responsive feeding best practice and strategies for the ECE teachers and staff to use during mealtimes with the children. Trainings typically last 45 minutes each. If you would like access to these trainings, please fill out the request access to documents form below.
Dr. Michelle Lombardo is the CEO and creator of the OrganWise guys curriculum which is a large part of the WATCH program. This curriculum was selected to be a component of WATCH because of its best practice in preventing childhood obesity. The eight lessons and videos that each classroom receives aligns with the Oklahoma Core Competencies, Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Reaching for the Stars criteria, Child Development Associate (CDA) content, and Early Learning Guidelines. These areas highlight the importance for early childhood development and each lesson promotes the enhancement of healthy nutrition and physical activity within each learning center.
Menu Development Resources
Menu development is a large part of the WATCH program as it centers around providing good and culturally relevant nutrition to the learning centers. Menu development was conducted by Dr. Susan Sisson of the OU Health Science Center and her graduate assistant. Best practice for menu modifications is initiated with the results from the community capacity survey for food prep personnel to gauge readiness. From these results, staff can use the survey to prepare for the interview to learn more about feasible implementation of menu modifications. During the interview, a review of the current menu will look at what foods have been successful, favored recipes, and identify what menu items to keep or modify. This is followed by menu analysis conducted by the WATCH programmatic assistant following the CACFP guidelines to create a new menu. The menu below is CACFP compliant and was used during implementation in the Cheyenne and Arapaho communities.
If you would like downloadable versions of any of our documents, please see the request form at the bottom of the page to request access to these documents.
Full 12-month Menu and Recipes
This document is a full years’ worth of menus and their supporting guides. If you would like a downloadable version, please request access with the form below.
12 Month Menu Guides
Below are menus and their guides for each separate month. If you would like to download a month, please request access through the form below.
Traditional Foods Resource Guide
Welcome to our parent resources. Below are the guides from our family health nights conducted by the head starts. Each parent packet encompasses a multitude of concepts that focus on either nutrition, physical activity, cooking at home, or safety in the kitchen.
The nutrition packet focuses on choosing healthier foods and getting the right amount of daily nutrients and creating healthy eating habits. The physical activity packet focuses on getting active and provides examples and activities to promote physical activity throughout the day. The chef demonstration packet focuses on cooking at home and how to make healthier choices right in your own kitchen. The safety in the kitchen packet gives insight on different safety measures and activities to ensure that when including children in the kitchen they are learning in a safe way. Each of our parent packets includes a Family Health Handout that is interactive for families to include the lessons learned from school in their home life. Some packets include worksheets to help work through the different lessons.
We provide a picky eater guide that walks through different tips to encourage a picky eater to try new and different things. It includes games and activities to get children interested in new foods. It also includes different ways to describe foods and how you can prepare them based on the description.
Part of the WATCH program is giving families nutrition and physical activity calendars that can help keep track of healthy habits and encourage new healthy habits. Each day is a new task that the whole family can participate in. They are created so that each day can be changed to match the current month.
WATCH parent guide – This parent guide focuses on each lesson of the OrganWise Guys curriculum being taught at the schools, so parents can keep track of what their children are learning. It also gives examples of ways to implement the lessons at home.
Nutrition Parent Packet
Physical Activity Parent Packet
Chef demonstration Parent Packet
Safety in the kitchen Parent Packet
Picky Eater Guide
Physical Activity Calendar
WATCH Parent’s Guide + EPG
If you have any questions about the WATCH program or would like to learn more about how to implement this program in your community, please use the technical assistance form below or reach out directly to the contacts provided.