Volume 04 | August 2021
Partnering with Orange County Early Childhood and Education (ECE) providers and families, to support social-emotional competence and build nurturing environments focused on positive mental and behavioral health for all children.
August 2021 Newsletter
Dear Start Well Community,
As summer comes to an end, parents, teachers and educators begin looking ahead and preparing for the new school year. In the last two years, many of us have experienced changes in the way we were used to educating and interacting with young children. Virtual preschool, wearing masks, social distancing and new safety guidelines were implemented throughout many programs. As we return back to school, we might also be returning to what we use to consider "normal" teaching. Our focus this month is to support parents, teachers and educators in this transition to help prepare children by building their social and emotional toolkit.

Welcome to our Community!
Welcome to all of the programs that have recently joined the Start Well Community - Big Adventure Inc Childcare, Calvary Chapel Preschool, Cypress Learning Tree Preschool, Olam Jewish Montessori, Robert H. Lange Christian Preschool, and Zion Lutheran ECEC. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with all of you including past and current programs. Thank you for partnering with us!
Raffle Winners!
Congratulations to our raffle winners in our April, May, and June Communities of Practice (CoP).
Bhawna Garg
EXCEL Montessori Inc
Bhawna Garg
EXCEL Montessori Inc
Victoria Hernandez
Boys & Girls Club of
Garden Grove
Elizabeth Lindsay
Eli's Angels
Jeanette Garcia
Good Shepherd Preschool
Elizabeth Lindsay
Eli's Angels
Prepping for Back to School: Building Your Social-Emotional Toolkit
As the calendar turns toward August, the question is always asked, how do we get our young children ready to go back to school? Whether it be a child's first time in an early childhood environment, or they are gearing up for kindergarten and beyond, it is important to prepare ourselves and our young children for the transition of going back to school and building up our social and emotional toolkit! 
As parents and educators we can actively build and support our young children in building their own social-emotional toolkit by recognizing protective factors, implementing the 5 universal practices, and by working to build resilient children. 
Here are a few ways we as adults can best support young children as they begin their new school year.
Protective factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, or community level, that are associated with a lower likelihood of problem outcomes or can reduce the negative impact of problem outcomes or adverse childhood experiences. A few examples are parental resilience, having social connections with peers, family and community groups, concrete supports and structure, parent knowledge of parenting strategies and child development, and the social and emotional competence of young children. Having these protective factors in place help build resilient children who are able to handle new challenges when they come their way. Remember that young children are resilient, and they learn the skills to be adaptive and flexible when the adults around them model resilience, empathy, understanding towards others, and share their own experiences and emotions. 
Aside from making sure protective factors are in place, there are five great practices we can incorporate in our daily lives to support young children in building their social and emotional toolkit. The 5 Universal Practices focus on teaching young children skills to be successful for the rest of their lives. By implementing these strategies at a developmentally appropriate level we are providing children the life skills they need to thrive in our complex, ever changing world. 

The 5 Universal Practices:
1.Five to One (5:1) Ratio of Positive Attention
Recognize all of the great skills, ideas, experiences a young child has for every negative direction or redirect they are given. For example, when sharing with your child, you can say, "I really like how you worked so hard to clean up all of those blocks. I can see from the big smile on your face that you are really proud of yourself for doing that - great job!" 
2.Predictable Schedules
Use predictable schedules when going about your child's day so they understand what they can expect and when changes might occur. An example can be to remind them of the change and share, "Today we are going to grandma's house and then we are going to come home to have lunch."
3.Routines within Routines
Support your child by establishing routines within routines that help them have a successful day! Such as going through all steps of brushing their teeth during their morning routine or laying out clothes for the next day during their bedtime routine.
4.Directly Teach Behavior Expectations
Through modeling during situations and experiences, talking through common situations (such as the first day of school), use books and environmental tools to support your child in understanding the types of behaviors and reactions expected within the environment.
5.Directly Teach Peer Related Social Skills
Young children need their adults to support them in understanding how to interact with others. By problem solving together, talking through common social problems like taking turns, wanting the same bike, or going up to a friend and asking them to play, you are equipping your child with the social and emotional tools they will need to be successful in the coming school year and in life.
Early Childhood Mental Health Resources
To help build families and early childhood provider's social and emotional toolkit.
Assists parents and caregivers in developing a plan to support young children who are demonstrating challenging behavior. Includes strategies to support transitions and going to school or childcare. 
Visuals help children to understand their feelings and feeling with others. This visual tool can be used with children at home or care settings to build their emotional literacy and vocabulary.
Learn ways to support a young child’s social and emotional development. Practical strategies and tools to bring focus on this important elements and building blocks in this area. 
Community Resources
Operation Safe Child
It's always a good idea to have an updated picture of your child should it ever be needed. The Orange County Sheriff's Department is offering the Safe Child ID program to all parents in OC. Deputies take a picture of your child along with their fingerprints and provide a printed copy for safekeeping.

Orange County Public Libraries Are OPEN!
Orange County Public Libraries are open! Check your local library for hours and activities for the rest of Summer.

Program Highlight
For this month's newsletter we had the opportunity to connect with Jenny McGuire the Director of Shoreline Preschool in Fountain Valley. Jenny began her early childhood career in 1987 and has been directing for 30 years. Since working with Start Well, Shoreline has put into practice social and emotional strategies and techniques that really work for the children in their program. Below are some ideas of how providers and families can support children socially and emotionally as they prepare to start the new school year.
We know many families are heading back to school for the first time post pandemic. How are you and your staff preparing your program to meet the social and emotional needs of the children this fall?
Connection is the key. After being disconnected for a year, many of the families need the time to be seen, heard, and comforted in hope again. Being careful not to be too busy for conversations with parents whether in person or virtually, I find it to be very important to arrange spaces of time parents can connect with their teachers or administrators. There is definitely much more anxiety on how their child behaves after the pandemic. I also encourage my educators to slow down and remember the “less is more” attitude right now. Not to overwhelm children with a cluttered classroom or overpopulated shelves of materials. Allow space for creativity and conversations. Modeling social-emotional behavior will be the biggest part of the day.
If a parent asked you what they can do at home to support their children this back to school season, what would you encourage?
Time where the parent is fully connected without distraction of a screen. Having at home connection time where there isn’t an agenda but following the lead of the child in play. Have conversations about how your child is feeling and talk about what that feeling brings to them. Is it joy, frustration, anger? What happens during those feelings and what does your body want to do? Working alongside your early educator can help the child learn self-regulation and build confidence.
What social-emotional skill do you think will be the most important as we come back to school?
Communication of needs. During the pandemic, I found looking at the three essentials of hunger, sleep, and self-care could be the source of the stress the child might be reacting to. If those were met, I would start conversations with the parents about observed behaviors and find triggers that I might be able to solve by changes to our schedule, our materials, or our choices. Starting within our program first helps build trust with the parents and build a partnership.
What are 3 social emotional strategies or tools currently working well at your site?
We use self-calming strategies in most situations before starting conversations and problem solving. The pretzel squeeze, finger hug or “smell the flower, blow out the candle” are our three go to for better self-regulation.
Thank you Shoreline Preschool!
Start Well is currently enrolling new providers.
If you are an Early Childhood Education program and would like to partner with an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant please email us at info@startwelloc.org

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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