A. Why Does an Early Childhood Program Need a Wellness Plan?

A Wellness Policy is a set of statements around the specific practices promoted in your ECE program. The day-to-day practices of your program play a key role in helping children develop healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Defining a program’s policies around day-to-day practices can:

  • Communicate core values and principles regarding healthy habits to ECE providers, to current and potential families and to the community.
  • Help ECE providers and families act as role models for children by practicing healthy habits.
  • Set a standard that is clear and consistent (this avoids future misunderstandings).
  • Help guide those teaching children about the importance of these healthy habits.

This plan guides you step-by-step to develop written policies for your early childhood program in the areas of nutrition and physical activity, including screen time. This process will help you develop wellness policies similar to those required by school districts for their schools K–12. A Wellness Policy reflecting nutrition and physical activity standards is encouraged by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education as well as Quality Rating Improvement Systems in many states. You can use the information to set your goals and monitor your progress towards those goals.