Mental Health

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.

Fostering Emotional Literacy in Young Children: Labeling Emotions

The What Works Brief is a continuing series of easy-to-read, "how to" information packets on a variety early learning practices. Program managers and in-service providers may find this resource useful in meeting professional development needs. This brief discusses children’s emotional literacy and illustrates practical intervention strategies for early childhood settings and home environments

Reflective Supervision: Putting It Into Practice - Webcast

This webcast is designed to help you implement reflective supervision in your Early Head Start, Head Start, or Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program. It features a mini-training with Early Head Start practitioners led by Rebecca Shahmoon-Shanok, LCSW, Ph.D., a leading early childhood expert.

Motivational Interviewing Suite

These short videos provide examples of how to use MI strategies in everyday conversations between staff and families. Staff can use these videos to identify skills to enhance their relationships with families.

IT3 Infant Interactive Tool

Please rate yourself and your infant on the following nine traits. Check the box for each trait that comes closest to describing each of your regular behaviors. Remember, you can use the chart of Temperament Traits for definitions of each trait.

Assessing Family Crisis

A crisis is a period of heightened family tension and imbalance that requires quick staff identification. Head Start staff who work with families will find this information useful in understanding what brings about crises for families. Just as a crisis is an opportunity for a family, it is also an opportunity for staff to make a real difference in the life of a Head Start family

Facilitating a Referral for Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Within Early Head Start and Head Start (EHS/HS)

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are required to provide a broad range of mental health services, including mental health promotion, prevention, early identification of mental health concerns, and referrals for treatment of children and families. This resource offers useful tips for preparing and facilitating an effective mental health referral. Note: This resource is under review.