Social Emotional Development:
ECPAC partners know that when children enter kindergarten with strong social-emotional-behavioral skills, they are more likely to be successful in school. Teachers have noted that it is easier to teach children reading, writing, and math, when they can follow directions, get along with others, and have age-appropriate impulse control. We know that children do not just develop these skills. Often these skills are developed through support during play or through intentional teaching.
Additionally, we know that many children in Adams County face daily challenges that make developing strong social-emotional skills a struggle. Having supportive adults in their lives is critical to helping to “protect” against these risk factors and possible toxic stress: Toxic-Stress-Lit-Review-FINAL.
Finally, national and state research has shown that young children – ages birth – 5 are three times more likely to be expelled from their preschool or child care setting that children/youth in Kindergarten – 12th grade: policy-statement-ece-expulsions-suspensions and children of color are more likely to be suspended or expelled (African-American Black boys are 5x more likely and Hispanic boys are 3x more likely).
ECPAC partners are working to increase access to available, high quality services and supports for promoting social-emotional development and addressing challenging behaviors in Early Care and Education programs. Based on best practices in the field, the following strategies are being implemented:
- Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in Early Care and Education Programs: ECPAC partners with Community Reach Center (CRC) to fund these positions for ECE programs involved in the School Readiness Quality Improvement project. CRC also funds 2 additional positions through the Early Childhood Specialist program at the Colorado Department of Human Services – Office of Early Childhood.
- Professional Development and on-site support (if involved in a QI project) – in the Pyramid Model – a best practices model at promoting social-emotional development to prevent challenging behaviors and skills to address challenging behaviors as needed. http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/
- Community based parenting classes for children 0-3 and 3-5.
- Families – for resources and information – please visit our Family Roadmap: ecpac.org/parents-families or click on the Roadmap picture in the top right hand corner of the website.
- Training for ECE programs on how to make a referral for a mental health evaluation or home visitation – in close collaboration with children’s medical provider.
- All Adams County School District Preschools use the evidenced-based Incredible Years program in their classrooms. ECPAC supports the provision of the Incredible Years parenting class in partnership with some of the School Districts.
For more information on what ECPAC partners are doing to support social-emotional development and early childhood mental health – visit our page on Project LAUNCH: www.ecpac.org/Project-LAUNCH