Developing an Elevate Program Plan is a key step in reaching Member+ status. Your plan outlines how you will get your program from where it is today to where you want to be. Learn how to create a plan.
1. Reflect on where your program is right now
The first step is to do some thinking about your child care program. What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? Consider:
- Feedback from families
- Feedback from staff
- Information about the children in your care
- Reflections from self-assessment tools or program observations
- Your program’s financial situation
- Your program’s licensing or health inspection reports
The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) worked with NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) to develop a number of self-reflection tools to help you evaluate your program.
For center-based programs
• Curriculum Planning: How your program supports children’s learning
• Program Professional Development Plan: Your professional growth plans
• Connecting with Families: How your program communicates with families
• Facility: Your space and setting
For family child care providers
• Curriculum Planning: How you support children’s learning
• Connecting with Families: How you communicate with families
• Facility: Your space and setting
2. Decide what you want your program to become
Now, focus on what you’d like to improve. Are there skills you’d like your staff to learn? Do you want to expand or upgrade your facility? Don’t be afraid to think big at this stage.
3. Set SMART goals
SMART Goals will help make your plan actionable and measurable. Think about how you could break up your big picture goals from step 2 into concrete SMART goals. Keep in mind that your program plan has to include 1 to 3 SMART goals.
|Specific||Specific goals are clear and well-defined. They include what is going to be achieved, by whom, when, and where.|
|Measurable||Measurable goals have clear markers of success, both for the end result and for milestones along the way.|
|Attainable||Attainable goals are reasonable and realistic.|
|Relevant||Relevant goals support the program’s mission and vision.|
|Time framed||Time-framed goals have a clearly-defined window for completion.|
4. Set action steps and create your plan
Now you’re ready to set the concrete action steps that will help you meet your SMART goals.
If your child care is a center or group child care home, your Program Plan also needs to include:
- Training and educational professional development SMART goals for your program
- 1 specific professional development SMART goal for each staff member
Use our templates to set action steps and develop your plan:
- Program Improvement Plan Template for Child Care Centers and Group Child Care Homes (English)
- Program Improvement Plan Template for Family Child Care Providers (English)
You can also take a look at some sample plans to get ideas:
- Program Improvement Plan Sample for Child Care Centers and Group Child Care Homes (English)
- Program Improvement Plan Sample for Family Child Care Providers (English)
5. Continually update your plan
Your plan will be a living document and you can update it often. It’s a way to mark progress and document changes you’ve made to your approach. Starting early next year, you’ll be able to submit your plan through the CT Professional Registry to earn Member+ status.
Connect with a Service Navigator. They’re experienced guides who can talk about your program’s needs and direct you to Elevate resources.