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Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL important for children’s robust development, topics such as literacy, music, science, and so forth. In the end, we decided to focus on only topics directly related to health and wellness. This means many important topics, especially those primarily related to children’s cognitive development, do not fall within the scope of this book. When choosing a wellness topic, we asked ourselves two questions: 1. Will practices related to this topic improve a young child’s overall wellness? 2. Are there simple, actionable steps related to this topic that an early childhood professional can take to make a difference? Knowing that we answered yes to these questions makes us confident that early childhood professionals using Healthy Children, Healthy Lives can make a significant, positive impact on the health, happiness, and even lifespan of the children they care for. In writing Healthy Children, Healthy Lives, we made every effort to delve deeply into a wide range of topics related to children’s wellness. But please be aware that the information provided in the book should never be considered a replacement for your child care licensing or other regulators. Programs are encouraged to meet, and even to exceed, licensing requirements as part of the work of providing a healthy environment for young children. How Healthy Children, Healthy Lives Works Healthy Children, Healthy Lives has been intentionally designed so that early childhood programs and professionals of all types and at any stage of awareness can use it successfully. The book is divided into six parts representing the major areas of children’s wellness: • nutrition and healthy eating habits • physical activity and fitness • emotional health and resilience • physical health • safety and risk management • leadership The breadth of the content included in Healthy Children, Healthy Lives represents one of the challenges we share in addressing children’s wellness—a great deal goes into providing a healthy program. The good news is that because you are the expert on your program, you get to decide where to start. You get to determine how to use the information provided to best respond to your program’s unique needs. For instance, perhaps you’re just digging into the topic of children’s wellness and want to use the book to assess your entire program. Or perhaps parents xiv COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL