Did you have any New Year resolutions that had to do with health, activity and nutrition? Was it for yourself or your child care program?
If your healthy lifestyle resolution was for yourself why don’t you expand it to your child care environment?!
I learned about a tool that could help you evaluate what you are currently doing regarding nutrition and activity for the kids in your care and then it helps you write up a policy for physical activity and nutrition! With all of the research and media coverage about childhood obesity, I bet the parents of the children in your care would LOVE to know you have a policy to help them help their kids be healthy.
A resource and referral agency in Contra Costa, California called Contra Costa Child Care Council has created a manual to help you assess your program and then create a policy according to that assessment. Contra Costa Child Care Council is featured by the Lets Move Child Care website in the “Promising Policies” section for the state of California.
The manual or toolkit, as I prefer, Creating Healthy Opportunities in Child Care Environments (CHOICE) was done in two main parts.
It is a checklist with four main categories:
Nutrition: Feeding Practices
Nutrition: Food Served
Staff and Parent Training
Each category listed above has several items. For each item you checkmark what the “status” of that item is in your care.
For example: Nutrition: Feeding Practices there is the item “parents receive written nutrition policies upon enrollment.” For that item you check mark one of the following: Already doing, Making Progress in Doing, Planning To Do or Not Planning To Do. There are a total of 35 questions. The CHOICE toolkit walks you through the SAQ process with step by step instructions.
Now comes the awesome part! So you’ve done your assessment and you know what needs some work and where to begin but now what? You aren’t quite sure how to write polices, nor do you know what the best practices are for these particular items in the SAQ. Contra Costa Child Care Council created a book for you that takes you step by step through the policy making process. To make it even better it matches your assessment.
CHOICE provides you with a box for each SAQ item that addresses: Best Practice, Rationale and Talking Points. Talking Points are geared toward trainers assisting child care providers in writing the policies but equally useful for providers doing it on their own. To top it off, they provide references for each item. There is a big list of resources and websites for you to use to help you institute these best practices.
The next section helps you actually write the policies. It provides sample policies and ideas to consider. Also, find the additional section which helps track your progress too.
This tool is a complete step by step process to creating and maintaining the ultimate nutrition and physical activities best practices and policies for your family child care or center. Use it for marketing in this world extremely concerned with childhood obesity and better yet, make your care the healthiest it can be for the little ones!