How Head Start and Early Head Start Programs Address Children's Behaviors and Build a Supportive Learning Environment

Little boy smiling and staring at the cameraSupporting young children's social and emotional development (mental health) has always been a key element of Head Start and Early Head Start program services. Many Head Start Program Performance Standards address the mental health systems and service requirements that a program must meet to promote mental wellness and ensure the timely identification and intervention of mental health issues (45 CFR §1302.33(a)(1–5); 45 CFR §1302.45; 45 CFR §1302.46(a) and (b)(iv)).

Unfortunately, expulsion is common in early care and education settings.1 However, Head Start and Early Head Start programs prohibit expelling children. They use comprehensive planning to identify social, emotional, and behavioral issues and ways to address them.

1 Gilliam, Walter S., Prekindergarteners Left Behind: Expulsion Rates in State Prekindergarten Systems (New York: Foundation for Child Development, 2005).