Promoting children's social competence is one of the founding principles of the Office of Head Start. That strong commitment to nurturing children's mental health continues today. Social and emotional well-being is closely linked to children's school readiness. When early educators and families know more about early childhood mental health, they are better able to support children's learning and development.
This booklet is designed to assist staff in helping children to label their feelings. Strategies are included to support children in linking emotional vocabulary with specific actions.
This brief addresses children's emotional literacy development. Practical intervention strategies for early childhood settings and home environments are provided.
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) promotes the social and emotional development and school readiness of young children, ages birth to 5. Jointly funded by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care, CSEFEL sends out research and evidence-based practices to early childhood programs across the country. Explore this resource to find a few of the extensive CSEFEL resources available to early educators, program leaders, and families.
Pyramid Model for Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Infants and Young Children Fact Sheet
Learn about the Pyramid Model. It provides a tiered intervention framework for promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral development of young children. This fact sheet describes the three tiers of intervention practice.
Responsive Caregiving as an Effective Practice to Support Children's Social and Emotional Development
From birth, children naturally form social bonds. They seek quality social interactions with their parents, caregivers, and teachers. In this BabyTalks webinar, discover the importance of healthy, early relationships in a child's life. Explore research-based teaching strategies that support responsive caregiving and more.
As children develop, they learn about how others feel. Empathy is an important part of self-awareness and a key social skill. Listen to this podcast to find tips on teaching empathy and helping children understand the impact of their actions.
Everyday Ideas for Increasing Children's Opportunities to Practice Social Skills and Emotional Competencies
Explore this resource to find ideas and strategies organized by the type of skill targeted: emotions, friendship, problem-solving, and handling anger and other difficult emotions. For each set of strategies, there are daily ideas which require relatively little planning, weekly ideas that require training and materials, and ideas that can be sent home with families.
Use this resource to support staff as they help infants and toddlers develop the characteristics and skills they will need for later success in school and life.
Early relationships are the foundation of healthy development. Positive relationships between primary caregivers and young children are linked to long-term positive outcomes. Head Start and Early Head Start staff members and other caregivers can use these resources to promote positive relationships between children and families, children and early childhood educators, and children and their peers.
Early Childhood Mental Health
From the beginning, Head Start has been committed to promoting the mental health of young children and their families. In this resource, explore how to help promote children's mental health and social and emotional development.
One of the founding principles of the Head Start program is the promotion of social competence as a way to nurture children’s mental health. Explore how early educators and families are better able to support children’s learning and development when they know about early childhood mental health.
Grief and Loss
Coping with the death of a loved one brings enormous challenges for the whole family. These resources can help families heal together through support, open conversations, and finding ways to keep the person’s memory alive.
This resource can help parents answer toddler's questions about death and deal with behavior changes.
By encouraging young children to express their feelings, parents can help them build healthy coping skills. Learn more tips on how to help children process their grief with this resource from the Child Mind Institute.
Discussing death with children can be difficult. In this resource from the Child Development Institute, learn how to talk about death with young children in simple terms they can understand.
This informative booklet from the American Academy of Pediatrics can help parents and other caregivers help children cope with grief and fear following a death in the family.
In this article, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shares some common signs and symptoms of grief in young children.
Head Start and child care programs can use these tip sheets and resources with families and staff affected by a crisis or tragic event. Use these materials to learn more about common reactions and self-care after trauma.
National Centers:Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Last Updated: November 2, 2020