How you define success is really up to you. When your program has met all—or simply most—of the
indicators in a checklist, your program has met the goal. We know some of the goals will be inordi-
nately challenging for particular programs, and some may choose not to implement specific indicators.
You do not, after all, need to set your sights on perfection—to achieve 100 percent of the indicators in
every section—to continuously improve the overall wellness of the program. Successful programs will
make steady progress, tackling new indicators regularly, working toward new goals and the action steps
needed to meet those goals routinely.
It will be easier and more rewarding for you, your coworkers, and the children and families served
in your program if you celebrate successes as they occur. When you complete a goal or a set of goals,
celebrate the accomplishment and give credit to everyone who participated. Highlighting successes as
they occur will encourage more and more people to get involved and stay involved. When you’ve fin-
ished creating a private, comfortable space for mothers to use when breast-feeding, hold a ribbon cutting
celebration. Thank the parent volunteers who helped to do the work, and call for a round of applause to
recognize the infant teacher who volunteered to oversee the project! Take pictures of your celebration
and include them in your next newsletter or on your program’s website or Facebook page. Volunteers
love to be recognized and your appreciation goes a long way toward encouraging them to volunteer for
the next project on your action plan.
Families and Staff Members
Improving the quality of your program by improving your wellness practices will undoubtedly benefit
the children in your care. And it’s likely you will discover that it also benefits you, your staff members,
and the families your program serves. In fact, many practices and policies represented by indicators in
Healthy Children, Healthy Lives focus directly on improving aspects of staff member or family well-
ness—which, with few exceptions, will affect the children in a positive way. For example, one indicator
in section 13, Family Support and Involvement, reads, “New families are introduced to families in the
program. They are encouraged to develop relationships.” When new families develop relationships with
other families in the program, they build a network of support and resources they can turn to during
periods of stress or puzzlement over children’s development. Another indicator, this one in section 23,
Leading Program Staff Members, says, “Staff members’ benefits include paid sick days so staff members
are not penalized for illness.” When staff members are afforded paid sick days, the children benefit
because they are not exposed to illness by their caregivers. Improving your program’s wellness practices
and policies will benefit so many people.
And that is a good thing because, truly, a child care program administrator will never be able to
make sustainable program changes on her own. Engaging families and staff members in the work of
implementing Healthy Children, Healthy Lives is essential. Create small groups of staff members to help
you complete the checklists, identify goals, and create an action plan. Involve parent volunteers by
asking them to enact improvements once you have identified them—for example, to install mirrors to
aid supervision or to identify sources of locally grown organic food. Engaging families and staff mem-
bers not only helps to distribute the work of making program improvements, but it also helps inspire
families and staff members to become more conscious of their role in supporting children’s wellness.
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