Ready, Set, Go!

Institute of Child Nutrition at the University of Mississippi


Ready, Set, Go! is a web-based, self-assessment checklist designed for childcare directors who are evaluating and/or implementing wellness practices in childcare centers participating in CACFP. The checklist focuses on the nutritional and safety aspects of wellness in childcare centers. The resource is designed around 155 best practices that contribute to the achievement of 15 goals listed under two practice categories and 13 subcategories. Childcare directors may use specific sections of the checklist, or they may use the entire checklist to assess wellness practices and staff training needs in their centers. Directors first use the checklist to assess their center, and then they develop a “Plan of Action” based on the results of the completed checklist.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Ready, Set, Go! targets childcare centers in both rural and urban areas throughout the country. A participatory approach was used to develop the resource from research involving child care professionals in centers and in State and national positions. The best practices and goals were captured from previous studies (qualitative and quantitative) in various child care settings across the country that included small, large, corporate, and Head Start centers. The qualitative studies required researchers to conduct interviews and focus groups to confirm the practices. Then a national survey was administered to center directors across the US for confirmation. An expert panel of child care directors in the field (centers), State Agency, and child care advocates participated in a workgroup to develop the resource.

Setting: Childcare

Age: Preschool (<5 years old)

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Ready, Set, Go! is a wellness checklist consisting of 155 questions grouped into 2 categories and 13 subcategories. Following each subcategory, there is a Plan of Action to help childcare directors set goals for their centers based on the results of their completed checklists. The following is an outline of the checklist:

  • Section One: Resources and Partnerships
    1. Partnerships with Other Agencies
    2. Parent Involvement
    3. Staff Training
  • Section Two: Healthy Environment
    1. Healthy Meals
    2. Emergency Preparedness
    3. Hand Washing
    4. Food Safety and Sanitation
    5. Mealtime Environment
    6. Staffing and Curriculum
    7. Safety
    8. Infant Feeding Practices
    9. Childcare Facility Management
    10. Special Food and/or Nutrition Needs

The childcare center can fill out the checklist and redevelop action plans as often as desired.

Intervention Materials

The checklist is available online at no cost:

Evidence Summary

Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi developed the 155-question checklist. They developed the checklist through qualitative interviews, focus groups, and surveys:

Classification: Evidence-based

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST4 MT1, MT4
Environmental Settings ST5, ST7 MT5
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

Currently, there are no evaluation materials to assess the effectiveness of the checklist, other than reviewing the childcare center’s Plans of Action.

Additional Information

Website: The Ready, Set, Go! website ( includes a Ready, Set, Go! overview, the checklist, and the Plans of Action.

Contact Person(s):
Kristi L. Lewis
Research Scientist
Institute of Child Nutrition, Applied Research Division
University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive #5060
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Phone: 1-800-324-3054