For over fifty years, Head Start* has had a commitment to health and wellness. Promotion and prevention activities are central to the program’s requirement to provide comprehensive services to support children’s healthy growth and development. Today, a growing body of research demonstrates that healthy growth and development are critical for school readiness and later learning. Recent studies suggest that high-quality early childhood health and nutrition services provide the foundation for lifelong wellness.
The Head Start Health Services Competencies Professional Development Assessment (PDA) is a companion document to the Head Start Health Services Competencies: A Tool to Support Health Managers and Staff (The Competencies Tool). The Competencies Tool is a framework for identifying the critical attitudes, knowledge, and skills to implement effective health services. Attitudes refers to what an individual values; knowledge refers to what an individual knows; and skills refers to what an individual can do. The 68 competencies are organized into four categories. In the PDA, each competency has four levels of accomplishment along a continuum of strengths. Program directors, health managers, and health staff can use the PDA themselves and with the staff they supervise to promote successful job performance and support career development.
This fact sheet provides information on healthy active living. It discusses the importance of physical activity, a healthy diet, and quality sleep to the overall growth, development, and learning of young children.