C. Using the ECE Health and Wellness Plan

This plan is for your active use. Each section provides a brief overview, space to record your current policy (informal or formal), suggested policies, and space for you to plan for improvements and record the policies you wish to include in your Wellness Plan. For each section, you can choose to include several new statements in your Wellness Policy or none at all. At the end of the plan, you will find references and other resources that can provide further guidance.

Do not skip the sections that ask for your comments! The more actively you participate in this process, the better the results you will achieve. You will develop a clearer understanding of why young children need to develop healthy habits for life and how you can help them do so.

Consider having a team of three or more individuals work together to complete this plan. Participants could include the center director, teachers and assistant teachers, parents/caregivers, educators and healthcare providers (see Section 4, Wellness Advisory Council). Leadership from the center director (and corporate leaders, if applicable) will be needed to implement program-specific policies; and participation of early childhood providers and family members will help to keep the policies realistic and appropriate. Technical Assistance will be available to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Once you have completed the plan, gather the set of policies you developed to share in your own Wellness Policy (see Appendix I). Choose 10 or more key policies that you will adopt. Recognize that a long list of policies may be difficult to monitor and enforce.

Be sure to share your Wellness Policy by including it in:

  • Welcome or registration packet for new families
  • Family handbook
  • Employee handbook and job description
  • Family newsletters
  • Bulletin board or posters
  • Family engagement workshops
  • Website

As part of the Healthy Way to Grow program, you will review and revise this policy each year to incorporate new guidance from experts, new regulations, and your experiences when using the policies in your program. Share a copy of the new policy with early childhood providers and families.