Health is the foundation for children's growth, development, and school readiness. Head Start programs understand that healthy children are better able to learn. Explore resources to support health and safety planning, including a series of collections on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website.
Planning for Health and Safety
Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOC Basics)
Review the minimum health and safety standards required in Head Start and child care programs, family child care homes, and other places children receive care. These standards seek to reduce redundancy across requirements for programs with multiple funding streams. Programs can use the CFOC Basics: Program Review Tool for Center-Based Programs and Family Child Care Homes to assess health and safety practices, identify where practices should be stronger, and develop strategies and plans for professional development.
Positive Eating Environment Tool
Explore the interactive companion to Positive Eating Environment Self-Assessment for ECE Programs. Programs can use this tool to help turn the self-assessment into an action plan. It includes recommended practices to create a positive eating environment that supports children's healthy growth and development.
Family Connections: A Mental Health Consultation Model
Explore a preventive, system-wide mental health consultation and training approach to strengthen the capacity of Head Start and Early Head Start staff. Staff can use these resources to work with families dealing with parental depression and related adversities, with children in classrooms and in the home, and engage and support parents struggling with adversities. These materials were developed by the Family Connections Project at Boston Children's Hospital.
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.
Explore the ECLKC's Mental Health page for resources to support the ongoing mental health of children and the adults who care for them.
Good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods helps pregnant women and children get the nutrients their bodies need to stay healthy, active, and strong.
Explore the Nutrition page on the ECLKC. Find resources to support healthy eating habits and nutrition assistance information to share with families.
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, but it's preventable. Children with dental pain can have trouble speaking clearly, eating, and learning. Oral health is important for ongoing health and school readiness.
Explore the Oral Health page on the ECLKC for resources to promote a healthy mouth. Find tips for proper toothbrushing, other preventive measures, and how to find a dentist.
Head Start programs promote the overall well-being of families and staff. To help children thrive, staff ensure children are up to date on immunizations and their state's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule. They make sure children and families learn healthy habits and can access the care they need.
Explore the ECLKC's Physical Health page for resources around screenings, preventative measures, health tips for families, and children with special healthcare needs.
Early childhood programs keep children safe when their facilities, materials, and equipment are hazard-free and all staff use safety practices such as active supervision.
Explore the Safety Practices page on the ECLKC. Find resources to help staff and families reduce the number and severity of childhood injuries everywhere that children learn and grow.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Program Option: Family Child Care Option
Last Updated: May 18, 2023