Date of Completion

Spring 5-11-2022

Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Faculty Advisor

Eileen M Stuart-Shor, PhD, ANP-BC, FAHA, FAAN

Site Advisor

Melanie Sullivan, LCSW


Background: Integrating school-based health education and models of healthy lifestyles in early childhood provides a foundation for lifelong health learning. Many chronic may be prevented or mitigated through early childhood health education. Early learning centers (ELCs) may be a perfect setting to enable young children to achieve their full potential.

Problem: In Boston, Massachusetts, there are differences in health experience across population groups. Children of color and lower socioeconomic challenges experience higher rates of chronic conditions.

Available Knowledge: Search of literature showed that school-based healthy lifestyle interventions improve healthy behaviors and can be taught to children as young as preschool.

Purpose: To improve physical, mental, and social health and well-being in an ELC in Boston, by implementing the CDC Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community (WSCC) integrated approach to health.

Context: The setting was an ELC in Boston.

Interventions: Implemented the WSCC model by applying the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle.

Evaluation: Implementation was assessed using informal interviews, meetings, a needs assessment tool, and a team satisfaction survey.

Results: Four interdisciplinary members evaluated the project. All agreed WSCC approach was beneficial, and the team worked well together. All feedback noted that it would have been better without COVID-19.

Conclusion: WSCC was be beneficial, and was implemented without much effort. Assessing and reassessing needs and opportunities allows for adaptation, even during times of extreme stress and unpredictability. An interdisciplinary approach to integrating health and wellness in an ELC works and could be used as a model for other educational settings.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //