School Readiness

From Research to Practice: Implications for Programs

A woman holds a baby who is grasping her hairThe experiences of children and families in your program influence how they will approach experiences later in life. Head Start programs serving infants and toddlers (Early Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start) offer a tremendous opportunity to foster the competence necessary not only for school success but also in all areas of development. For staff members to effectively support the three developmental tasks discussed previously—acquiring self-regulation, communicating and learning, and getting along with peers—they need to understand both child development and the critical link between social and emotional development, and early learning.

In the next sections, we identify four key concepts that describe the link between social and emotional development, and early learning. We also explore how parents and other significant adults help infants and toddlers regulate their emotions and behavior, communicate and learn, and develop healthy relationships with others. These four concepts include the following: