Health is the foundation of school readiness. To help children thrive, Head Start staff ensure that children are up to date on immunizations and their state’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule, learn healthy habits, and can access the care they need. Head Start also promotes the physical and social and emotional well-being of families and staff.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental health of children, families, and staff every day. Early childhood mental health is the same as social and emotional well-being. It is a child’s developing capacity to express and regulate emotions, form trusting relationships, explore, and learn—all in the cultural context of family and community. The mental health of children and the adults that care for them is essential for school readiness.