Policy, System, & Environment Changes 2020-06-18T22:50:29+00:00

Policy, System & Environment Changes

The COWP Policy, System, and Environment Change Process is a strategic planning process that leads to the implementation of center-based policy, system, and environment strategies known to increase student and staff opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity during the school day. Sites assemble a wellness team to go through the 4-6-meeting process under the guidance of a trained facilitator. COWP Wellness Teams are comprised of 3-8 team members from different backgrounds (e.g. the director, teachers, food service, parents, etc). Our expert facilitators will help your team develop a final wellness policy poster and workplace wellness program.

The wellness team participates in a strengths and needs assessment using a menu of best practices, evaluates the importance and feasibility of potential changes, develops an action plan and timeline, and designs a wellness policy and workplace wellness plan. Since 2013, a total of 672 health-promoting PSE changes have been made, with an average of 5.5 changes per preschool setting.

How it works

Wellness teams will use a menu of healthy eating and physical activity-related best practices to assess which PSE practices are fully implemented at their home or center. They will also identify PSE practices that are not or partially implemented.

Wellness teams will prioritize each potential PSE change based on importance and feasibility. PSE changes that are rated as highly important and highly feasible will be selected.

Wellness teams will develop action plans for each PSE change which include action steps, identification of resources needed, identification of a point person responsible for each step, and a timeline for completion of each step.


Total health changes were selected across all sites
Healthy eating changes were selected across all sites
Physical activity changes were selected across all sites
An average of 5.5 changes per ECE setting

Of PSE changes were fully implemented after 6 months


Of PSE changes were fully implemented after 1 year


Of PSE changes were fully implemented after 2 years

Policy, System & Environment Change Resources

Sample Wellness Poster

Policy, System & Environment Changes


“I’ve seen a huge improvement from last year to this year and through the PSE committee one of our things we were focusing on was getting the teachers up and moving and being more active and giving them reasons. So we’re doing the walking clubs and if they’re up and moving with the kids and getting them dancing they’re getting steps. So I think just showing them the positives that are in for them too.”
Teacher, Family Star Montessori

“Through the PSE process the agency has drafted a policy a nutrition policy any event that is hosted by the division of child care services is mandated to serve healthy, well balanced meals. Low sugar, fat and salt.”

Director, Catholic Charities

“How it [the PSE Change process] got us to kind of focus on action steps and goals and we ended up getting a nutrition board which was something we had talked about but hadn’t implemented and just focusing on where we can improve”

Teacher, Family Star Montessori
“The water bottles was part of Culture of Wellness [in Preschools] and trying to teach the kids to drink more water and we as a staff were pop drinkers and so we tried to drink more water as well. We’re trying to set that example for the kids.”
Teacher, Volunteers of America