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Supporting Health and Activity in Preschool Environments (SHAPES) is a direct education intervention designed to increase young children's physical activity (PA) levels by teaching the importance of adequate PA for healthy development and training educators to provide opportunities for PA throughout the day by adapting existing curricula. SHAPES addresses SNAP-Ed outcomes by providing teachers with strategies to increase PA and reduce sedentary behavior without additional resources.

Intervention Target Behavior: Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

SNAP-Ed Strategies Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

SHAPES targets preschool-age children and early childhood educators in the child care setting. SHAPES was developed as a professional development program for early childhood educators by members of the Children's Physical Activity Research Group (CPARG) at the University of South Carolina. The SHAPES development team recruited key stakeholders (current preschool teachers) to advise program development, and SHAPES was tested in a wide variety of preschool settings to ensure appropriateness and effectiveness. Research indicates that SHAPES content is clearly understood by the target audience, and participants successfully implement SHAPES strategies.

Settings: Pre-K & Childcare, Schools 

Age/Population Group: Preschool

Race: All

Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

SHAPES includes information that defines PA and PA intensity; address the importance of physical activity for healthy development; teach strategies to provide adequate PA indoors, outdoors, and during pre-academic lessons by adapting existing curricula; provide strategies to maximize the effectiveness of PA opportunities; and provide interactive evaluation tools to assess and enhance classroom PA. These intervention components provide early childhood educators with the knowledge and tools to increase their students' PA levels by emphasizing its importance and increasing PA opportunities. Participants have the opportunity for self-assessment with SHAPES self-assessment tools. Additionally, many optional resources are provided to facilitate successful participation and implementation.

Intervention Materials

Please contact Dale Murrie at for more program information. Materials include:

  • Online guidebook that supports the curriculum
  • Virtual Activity Binder with over 90 sample activities
  • Three sets of activity cards
  • Video library with sample activities
  • Self-Assessment Tools
  • Poster of SHAPES goals
Evidence Summary

SHAPES process evaluation included participant surveys and interviews with preschool teachers to assess the acceptability of the intervention. Surveys were collected throughout each iteration of SHAPES, and the results informed updates and modifications to the program. Interviews were conducted after the first two phases of SHAPES to further ensure acceptability. Schools with administrative support for SHAPES and PA practices, in general, were more likely to participate successfully.

Results of the initial RCT indicated that children in classrooms that participated in SHAPES engaged in significantly more moderate-to-vigorous PA than children in control classrooms. Results of a later trial comparing in-person training to online-only training indicated that online training resulted in effective classroom implementation. Online module completion was good in the distance-only group and adequate in the in-person group. Both groups had very high levels of teacher-reported PA opportunities (100% for distance-only and 87% for in-person), teacher-reported being active with children (100% each), and process-observed child enjoyment (94% for distance only and 87% for in-person). Teachers felt prepared to carry out SHAPES, suggesting that online dissemination is a viable strategy for SHAPES.

Published research includes:

Evidence Base: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

 Readiness and Capacity - Short Term (ST)Changes - Medium Term (MT)Effectiveness and Maintenance - Long Term (LT)Population Results (R)
Individual MT3  
Environmental Settings   
Sectors of Influence   
  • MT3b: Results from a randomized controlled trial indicated that students in classrooms that participated in SHAPES spent significantly more time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous PA.
Evaluation Materials

SHAPES participants are provided with self-assessment tools to track planned and executed physical activity. Please contact Dale Murrie ( for more program information.

Additional Information

Website: Website is no longer available, please contact Dale Murrie for any questions or for access to materials.

Contact Person:

Dale Murrie 



*Updated as of August 20, 2023

Resource Type
Age/Population Group
Intervention Target Behavior
Evaluation Framework Indicators
Intervention Outcome Levels
SNAP-Ed Strategies
Evidence Base