Start life well

Improving the well-being of children, families and staff

Start Life Well is a complete online well-being programme that ensures that the whole setting reinforces the value of physical activity, healthy eating and emotional well-being in everything that they do.  Our proven system enables organisations to measure, improve and consistently maintain high standards of well-being with ease.

NDNA PANCo Pioneers automatically complete Start Life Well as part of the online PANCo training programme, giving their setting Start Life Well Gold Award.

Settings can purchase Start Life Well as a stand-alone assessment, giving them a clearer vision of whether or not they are ready to identify a professional to undertake the PANCo qualification or alternatively, in order to renew their Start Life Well status. Settings will still access the PANCo forum and resources as part of the stand-alone assessment. They will receive the Start Life Well Award if they do not have a qualified PANCo within their setting. With a qualified PANCo in setting, they will renew their Start Life Well Gold Award.

Start Life Well with NDNA

Why Start Life Well?

Achieve and exceed your setting's well-being standards

Achieve and exceed your setting’s well-being standards

Start Life Well provides you with the strategy and tools to promote and encourage healthy choices for children and families.
Champion a health promoting approach

Champion a health promoting approach

Achieving the Start Life Well Award recognises your commitment to actively working towards improving the well-being of everyone in your setting.
Empower and boost staff confidence

Empower and boost staff confidence

Start Life Well gives staff the essential knowledge, practical skills and confidence to lead and promote well-being and support change within the setting.
Share good practice and your setting's achievements

Share good practice and your setting’s achievements

Highlight your setting as a leader in promoting well-being for all to children, families and the wider community.

The Start Life Well programme and award is
awesome! It is easy to use, well
designed and also very useful
when it came to completing the
Portfolio. This method could be
perfect to evaluate any aspect of
the setting


Steps to achieving Start Life Well status

1. Three routes to Start Life Well

  • Gold Award + NDNA PANCo
    Start Life Well is embedded into the NDNA PANCo training. By successfully completing our PANCo qualification, learners will gain full PANCo status and the setting automatically achieves the Start Life Well Gold Award.
  • Gold Award
    Start Life Well Gold Award can be achieved when there is a qualified PANCo working in the setting, who is responsible for completing the steps required to achieving Start Life Well Gold Award criteria.
  • Award
    The Start Life Well Award can be achieved when there is a nominated person working in the setting, who is responsible for completing the steps required to achieving Start Life Well Award criteria.


2. Get started

Complete the Start Life Well and CHOICE (creating healthy opportunities in children’s environments) eLearning lesson.

The eLearning lesson includes the policy guide introduction which supports the learner in gauging their setting’s readiness for change.

3. Assess and evaluate

Self-assess your own setting and benchmark against best practice to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Self-assessment will benchmark current practice and policy in physical activity and well-being, and nutrition and well-being. The learner will review strengths and weaknesses of existing nutrition and physical activity policy and practice. They will read and reflect on current research linked to an area of their interest.

4. Plan your well-being intervention

Identify and agree the focus of your physical activity or nutrition project.

Three areas of improvement will be highlighted. The learner will agree and plan one improvement initiative with their manager. All staff in the setting should be made aware of the national physical activity and nutritional guidelines and the well-being project. This should also be communicated with parents and carers, describing the intent of the project.

5. Implement into practice

Develop, test and implement changes using your ‘smart steps’.

The learner will describe how they have implemented their project and will gather evidence to support this.


6. Review and measure impact

Evaluate the outcomes and measure the impact of your well-being improvement project by providing evidence and identifying the next steps.

7. Achieve award

Submit your project portfolio as evidence of meeting the Start Life Well status criteria.

8. Celebrate achievement

Enjoy your success and share your achievements with the team, parents, community and across the whole sector.

9. Share good practice

Continue your journey, strengthen your knowledge and improve your practice by joining our PANCo hub.

10. Maintain standards

Repeat the Start Life Well process (annually at a minimum) to measure progress, maintain standards and create a continuous cycle of quality.


Pricing and structures

Start Life Well Award

For settings purchasing the stand-alone assessment.
Purchase Award

Start Life Well Gold Award

For settings with an already qualified PANCo.
Purchase Gold Award

Start Life Well Gold + PANCo

Accessed as part of the PANCo Level 4 Award.
Purchase PANCo + Gold Award

Become a PANCo

Join the growing movement of PANCo and gain Start Life Well status.


NDNA PANCos are able to achieve Start Life Well for their setting as they achieve their PANCo accreditation.


Engaging and intuitive eLearning lessons

We have taken the most current research and combined it with expert experience to deliver a practical online PANCo training course specifically designed for early years.

PANCo Quality Standards (Start Life Well)

Benchmark your setting against best practice in healthy eating and physical activity and make positive steps towards change with the bespoke Start Life Well Assessment tool embeded in to the CACHE Level 4 Award: Become a PANCo.

Reflective Journal

Packed full of activities, exercises, tools and resources, we have created a set of comprehensive reflective journals that will help you to reflect on what you are learning, expand your thinking and capture your inspiration.

PANCo Project Portfolio

Your Portfolio is a way to showcase your learning and provides you with a toolkit for integrating health and well-being projects into your setting.


Explore PANCo training