Volume 03 | May 2021
Partnering with Orange County Early Childhood Education (ECE) providers and families, to support social-emotional competence and build nurturing environments focused on positive mental and behavioral health for all children.
May 2021 Newsletter
Dear Start Well Community,
May is Mental Health Awareness Month dedicated to increasing awareness in the community and understanding of mental health. This month’s focus is on how PLAY supports Early Childhood Mental Health. Join us May 11th for a special Start Well Webinar on Play and Early Childhood Mental Health

Welcome to all who have joined the Start Well Community - Marina View Preschool, Robert H. Lange Preschool, Oak View Preschool, My Little Caterpillar, AmeriMont Academy Yorba Linda, AmeriMont Academy Anaheim Hills, Sunset Lane Elementary, CC's Learning Center and Beechwood School! Thank you so much for partnering with us.

Start Well is currently enrolling new providers
If you're interested in enrolling and becoming a new a partner with an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant please email info@startwelloc.org

Important Start Well Dates

Social Media
Follow us @startwellorangecounty on Facebook and Instagram
Early Childhood Mental Health and PLAY
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." -Fred Rogers

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to highlight the positive impacts that PLAY has on the mental health and wellness of young children. Play supports a child's development in every way, building life skills and specifically growing social and emotion competencies. Below are just some of the many ways play enhances early childhood mental health.

Independent Play- promotes leadership, confidence, self-identity, self-sufficiency, ability to self-direct, and individual/ independent processing.

Messy Play- develops self control and emotional regulation, allowing children to strengthen their sensory processing skills and build perseverance.

Imaginative Play- allows children to explore other perspectives, personalities and roles. They are able to examine their thoughts and feelings, problem solve real life situations, work out social interactions and develop impulse control and conflict resolution skills.

Physical Play- exercise, outside activity and physical play increase blood flow, oxygen levels, brain connections and boost the happy chemicals in the brain, benefiting social and emotional functioning. It improves memory, attention, and all brain activity, which enhances mood and ability to cope with stress.

Sensory Play- promotes learning and exploration, encourages curiosity and develops sensory input and concentration. It can calm and help regulate the nervous system.

Cooperative Play- supports social skills, builds connection, relationships and self regulation. Promotes problem solving, friendship skills, communication, listening skills and conflict resolution.

Symbolic Play- helps to process emotions, verbalize feelings, manage thoughts and can reduce stress while building resiliency and safety. Allows for abstract thinking and forethought.

Play truly is the work of childhood, it supports the mental health and wellness of all young children!
(paraphrased from Angela Pruess- Parents with Confidence)
Early Childhood Mental Health Resources
If you are interested in learning more about Play and Early Childhood Mental Health, below are a few resources you may enjoy reading.

Community Resources
Gymboree's specially designed play & music classes are research-based programs, created by experts in early childhood development. Their "play-osophy" is a child-led approach that builds upon each child’s own abilities. Choose from a wide range of early childhood classes for ages 0-5 years located in Cypress, Aliso Viejo and Fullerton!

Child Guidance Center
Child Guidance Center is dedicated to providing excellent behavioral and mental health services for the youth of Orange County. Some of their services include: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Behavior Management/Social Skills Therapy Groups, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and many more!

Environmental Nature Center
The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) is an environmental sanctuary, located in Newport Beach, that provides quality education through hands-on experiences with nature. The ENC includes a Nature Museum, trails to wander, a seasonal Nature Butterfly House, and so much more.
Program Highlight
Michy's Reggio
Family Childcare

Why is play so important to you and your program?

Play is a basic element in the life of a child, In addition to being fun, it is necessary for their development. Through play, children seek, explore, try and discover the world for themselves, being an effective instrument for education. Playing is important because it not only provides self-confidence, but this action gives pleasure and satisfaction to those who carry it out. Playing allows the child to develop physical and social aspects while experiencing emotions and expressing feelings.
How have you seen young children acquire social emotional skills and positive mental health through play?

Play lays the foundation for the development of key social and emotional knowledge and skills. Through play, children learn to bond with others, and to share, negotiate and resolve conflicts, as well as contribute to their capacity for self-assertion.
Our Team
Leadership Team
Program Manager,
Sadhna Matai
Content Expert & Training Specialist,
Sandy Avzaradel
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants
Hannah Thompson
Hazel Vickers
Kim Versluis
Rhysa Suh
Veronica Oliver
Funded by: OC Health Care Agency (OCHCA), Behavioral Health Services, Prevention & Intervention, Mental Health Services Act/Prop 63