Mental Health Services
Mental Health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Early childhood is a great time to begin building the skills for strong mental health.
Jefferson County Head Start is dedicated to nurturing the mental health of all children and families through a variety of mental health services, including: in class supports, parent classes, parent consultation, individual child support, small social groups, and referrals for other community based mental health services. In addition to Head Start staff, we also collaborate with Jefferson Center for Mental Health so we have several Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists to support our school.
Each classroom at Jefferson County Head Start has an Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist assigned to support the development of social-emotional competency for all children. This work includes spending time in the classroom and conducting observations on individual children, groups of children, and teachers. These observations are used to develop plans for the teachers to help support the success of every child through modification of the classroom environment, individualized lesson planning, and coaching on the social-emotional curriculum, Second Step.
Mental health services outside of the classroom are confidential and may be requested by the family and/or teachers. The type of services received will be determined through a collaborative process with parents/caregivers based on type of need and frequency. No services will be provided to children outside of the classroom without parents being involved in a support plan meeting and signing permission for services.
Trauma Informed Program
Jefferson County Head Start is also a trauma informed program. This means that all staff recognizes the complex nature of trauma and its impact on many of the children and families that attend our program. Staff receives extensive training on the nature of trauma, the impact it has on brain development, how to create environments that support the learning needs of all children, and ultimately how to create a school environment that is safe and supportive for all children and families entering our buildings.