Introduction already strong and other wellness areas where they have opportunities to improve. Do not expect
to check off every indicator immediately, no matter the quality of your program. The purpose of
the indicators—of the goals—in this book is to help early childhood programs improve and grow
so that children’s wellness will improve and continue to improve, now and in the future, and the
range of challenge represented by the indicators is intentionally broad.
Some sections also include bonus checklists. Indicators presented in bonus checklists often-
times highlight innovative, emerging practices and a higher degree of challenge. The bonus
indicators describe opportunities for improvement for programs already doing a great deal to meet
the related wellness goal. Consider them with a “wouldn’t it be nice to do this” outlook and tackle
them when the other section indicators have been met.
Terminology Throughout Healthy Children, Healthy Lives, we use “teacher” to refer to the adults who work
directly with the children—the children’s caregivers. We know that in the early childhood field
there are a variety of titles used to describe this role, including teacher, caregiver, child care
provider, teacher’s aide, and floater. In the end, we feel that no matter what your official title is,
when you work with young children each day, supporting their growth and development, you are
We also use “staff member.” When we use it, we mean all employees of the program—bus
drivers, cooks, health care professionals, program administrators, curriculum specialists, substi-
tutes, administrators, enrichment teachers, and custodians, as well as teachers. When we use “staff
member” in an indicator, the indicator applies to all program employees and not only the teach-
ers. It is important to keep this distinction in mind.
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