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OSNAP Initiative: Strategies to Increase Drinking Water Access

Core Elements

This section outlines the aspects of an intervention that are central to its theory and logic and that are thought to be responsible for the intervention’s effectiveness.  Core elements are critical features of the intervention’s intent and design and should be kept intact when the intervention is implemented or adapted. 

  1. Complete assessment of current afterschool program practices. Programs assessed their policies and practices related to healthy eating, beverages, and physical activity. This included collecting data on beverages currently being served to children at afterschool snack.
  2. Hold learning communities, including training of afterschool program coordinators and writing afterschool wellness policies.  Afterschool program directors and staff were invited to participate in a series of three learning community sessions. The meetings were hosted at participating sites and held at various times of the day to ensure participation. As part of the sessions, staff set actionable goals to improve program practices, wrote relevant policies, and communicated changes to parents, students, the school nutrition service, and school administrators.
  3. Review and revise district snack menus and beverage serving plans.  The OSNAP team partnered with the Boston Public Schools Food and Nutrition Service to review snack menus and provide nutritional and price analyses to support modifications to menus and beverage serving plans. Modified menus promoted water as the primary beverage.
  4. Establish water-delivery systems to ensure children are served water during snack time. Water-serving plans were determined based on infrastructure issues, program size, and applicable costs. Each plan had to be tailored to the needs of the school or organization operating the afterschool program. Options for providing water ranged from tap water in pitchers or jugs to bottled water in coolers.
  5. Engage stakeholders through parent newsletters, and get buy-in from food and nutrition services and school administrators.  Understanding and acceptance of the program by parents and school staff were essential to its success. To achieve the goal of providing water at snack every day, the learning communities decided on action steps that included:  creating policies in family handbooks, announcing new practices at staff meetings and assemblies, and communicating with families via newsletters and during program events. OSNAP provides sample language and templates for parent communications.
  6. Implement hydration units from Food & Fun Afterschool Curriculum in afterschool programs. Afterschool staff received the Food & Fun curriculum during learning communities and had the option to receive training on implementation of the curriculum. Part of the curriculum includes involving children in art activities and weekly water-helper duties.