Early Learning Newsletter | May 2022 | Supporting Children’s Mental Health


The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter

Supporting Children’s Mental Health

May 2022


Green Ribbon for Mental Health Awareness

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Valerie Williams and Jamila Smith

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

Children’s mental health is important every day and formally acknowledged during the first week of May, Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused increased stressors in families and communities. Families, caregivers, and providers can better support the healthy social and emotional development of young children when they are knowledgeable about resources that help them cope with stress, including that caused by the pandemic. To help promote children’s mental health acceptance we have highlighted resources that support children and families as well as state and local early childhood programs.

In celebration of Children’s Mental Health, for our Voices From the Field interview, we interviewed Amy Hunter from the Georgetown University Early Childhood Intervention Professional Development Center. She discusses her work to support the mental health of children, families and providers.

Thank you for reading “Early Learning”!

Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Jamila Smith
Director, Innovation and Early Learning Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education


Early Learning Updates


Equity Action Plan

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released its inaugural equity action plan as part of the Biden-Harris Administration's continued commitment to advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities. This plan aligns with President Biden's executive order, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness for the ECE Workforce

Public Service Loan Forgiveness for the ECE Workforce

The Department and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Early Childhood Development hosted a webinar on the flexibilities offered through the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver and the ways in which the early care and education workforce can take advantage of this time-limited opportunity.


Project Spotlight

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) logo

Promoting Social-emotional and Behavioral Outcomes

The ED-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) helps states and local programs support the social-emotional capacity of infants and young children. The Pyramid Model is an early childhood multitiered system of support with the goal of improving the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children with, and at risk for, developmental disabilities or delays. Implementing the Pyramid Model supports reducing the use of inappropriate discipline practices, family engagement, using data for decision-making, integrating early childhood and infant mental health consultation, and fostering inclusion. NCPMI has numerous resources available.


Voices From the Field

Amy Hunter

Supporting Children’s Mental Health

This month's Voices From the Field Interview is with Amy Hunter, who currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development. She co-leads the post-graduate clinical certificate program on infant early childhood mental health and co-directs the mental health section of the Head Start National Center on Health, Behavioral Health and Safety. Amy has worked in the field of infant early childhood mental health for over thirty years.

Read her post in the OSERS Blog.


This Month’s Recommended Resources

Teacher reading to children. Photo by Yan Krukov

Social-emotional and Literacy Learning

The Institute for Educational Science’s National Center for Special Education Research funded the development of the Social-Emotional Learning Foundations (SELF), which combines literacy and social-emotional instructional strategies for kindergarten and first grade teachers to support children in developing these skills. An interview with the developers is available.

Home visitor and toddler

Supporting Home Visitors

Home visitors provide important services. By implementing prevention strategies, home visitors, children, and families can be protected from diseases that can be spread from person to person, such as COVID-19, flu, colds, and other respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on ways home visitors can protect clients and themselves during home visits.

Resources on Children’s Mental Health

Mental Health

CDC logo

Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2013–2019

The CDC in collaboration with other federal agencies, including the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Institute of Mental Health released a new report on children’s mental health from 2013–2019.

Baby in mothers arms

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

As part of their Infant/Toddler Care Learning Suite, Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Child Care Technical Assistance Network has information on infant and early childhood mental health available in English and Spanish. The information is based on three parts of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) definition. This includes forming close and secure relationships, exploring the environment and learning and experiencing, managing and expressing emotions. The information can be used in a variety of child care settings.


Featured Webinars & Conferences

Girl testing vision

Empowering Families for Children’s Vision

As part of their series on the vision health of children with special needs, the HHS-funded National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health is hosting a webinar to discuss how parents can advocate for their child’s vision health on May 12, at 4 p.m.

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC)

Social-emotional Learning for Children with Disabilities and Suspected Delays

Social and emotional skills are important for young children with disabilities and suspected delays. HHS’ Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is holding a webinar as part of its Inclusion Series on May 24, at 3 p.m. English and Spanish captioning will be provided.


Funding Opportunity

HHS’s Office for Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE)

Child Care Policy Research

HHS’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation is accepting applications for its FY 2022 Child Care Policy Research Partnership (CCPRP) grants. The purpose of the program is to fund up to eight grants that support new research relevant to local, state and national child care policy.

Applications are due June 10, 2022.


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Check out more early learning stories, including "Voices From the Field" posts, on OSERS Blog.