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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction often describes both the “what” and “why” of important wellness practices. After listing the part, section, and goal, list the indicator or indicators you want to achieve and the action steps your program will need to take; include the indicators’ page number from the book for easy reference. Next record your action steps. The action steps should break down the program improvement into small, manageable tasks. When you record your action steps, avoid making general state- ments, such as, “Be more open to breast-feeding.” General statements like this one are hard to measure and make it difficult to know when you have achieved the action. Instead, make specific statements, such as, “Create a display featuring breast-feeding information.” The more specific the action step, the more clearly you’ll be able to measure your progress. Next identify the resources you will need to accomplish each action step. Resources might be materials such as family letters, program equipment, or food service equipment. Or resources might include the funds needed to make a repair or the people needed to complete a specific task or job. Once you’ve identified resources, assign a responsible party to each action step and create a timeline for completing the action. Who will be in charge of completing the task, and how long should it take? The responsible party is the person or the people who will do the work and who will make sure the work gets done. The timeline describes when the work will happen and the date it will be completed. Some tasks will require only a day or two to complete. Other tasks will take longer and have timelines involving months of work. Finally, identify costs. Some tasks will have no costs. Some tasks will have very minimal costs. And some tasks will be quite expensive and require thoughtful budgeting. Purchasing new furniture for a breast-feeding space could cost hundreds of dollars, but installing and arranging the furniture would have no cost if the work is completed by parent volunteers. Use the notes column to record your progress. This is particularly important for tasks that have multiple small steps, are complex, or have long timelines. For example, one task involved with creating a space for breast-feeding might be to clean out a small space near the infant room. A first step toward doing this could be to recruit some parent volunteers to take on the cleanup project. When that step is done, use the notes section to indicate that volunteers have been identi- fied, and note the names and contact information of the volunteers. Using this technique, your action plan becomes a one-stop working document for all of your wellness projects. As you use the action plan more and more, you will become increasingly expert at identify- ing effective action steps, necessary resources, responsible parties, reasonable deadlines, and costs associated with implementing a variety of checklist indicators. Updating your action plan consistently will help keep you on track. Make notes of the progress you have made. Adjust your timelines as needed when circumstances change. Then, when you complete an action step using the action plan, check it off in the plan’s last column: Success! When you’ve completed all of the action steps identified in the plan for an indicator, check off the indicator in the book too. Another success! Over time, you will implement your action steps, check off more and more checklist indi- cators, and achieve the goals you decided to work toward. Remember to celebrate your progress! Each step you take toward improving the wellness practices in your program will make a lifelong difference for the children you care for. xix COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL