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Every child is different, every family is different and every early childhood service is different.
This means that each service taking part in KidsMatter Early Childhood will look at the mental health needs of the children and families of the service and work out how it can strengthen support for children’s mental health. KidsMatter Early Childhood recognises that children’s health and wellbeing is already very important to early childhood services. The framework has been designed to help services build on what they are already doing to promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.
What should we expect?
During KidsMatter Early Childhood, a Facilitator works with the Leadership Team and provides KidsMatter Early Childhood professional learning to all staff so they understand what KidsMatter Early Childhood is about and what they can do to support children’s mental health.
- First, the Leadership Team and staff will be working on ways to make the centre a place where all children, families and staff feel a sense of belonging and connectedness as part of Component 1: Creating a sense of community.
- Second, they will be looking at ways to support children’s development and learning of social and emotional skills as part of everyday practice. This is Component 2: Developing children’s social and emotional skills.
- Third, the Leadership Team and staff will be looking at how the service can develop strong relationships with parents and carers and support them by providing information and resources about children’s development, children’s mental health and parenting. This makes up Component 3: Working with parents and carers.
- Fourth, they will also be finding out more about children’s mental health and working together with children and families to find help when there are concerns about the mental health of children. This is Component 4: Helping children who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
What services can do
Each service’s KidsMatter Early Childhood Leadership Team has the job of coordinating all the steps that need to be taken to get KidsMatter Early Childhood going. These include:
- providing information about the KidsMatter Early Childhood trial to families and staff
- checking what the service already does to support children’s mental health
- working out where the gaps are and what can be done
- planning what to do for each KidsMatter Early Childhood component
- working out how to do each component and getting it going
- seeing how the plan works and deciding whether other strategies or resources are needed.
What families can do
Families play an important part in supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing. Below are some suggestions of ways families can help services put KidsMatter Early Childhood into action
- Look for information about the activities that your service will be planning for KidsMatter Early Childhood.
- Look for regular KidsMatter Early Childhood information sheets like this one with your newsletter or on notice boards.
- Regularly visit the KidsMatter Early Childhood website for information and upcoming developments.
- Attend information sessions or other activities at your service whenever you can.
- Let the staff know what your concerns and strengths are by talking to them or to members of the Leadership Team.
- Respond to any requests for ideas or information from staff at the service.
- Talk to other parents and carers about ways your service could support your needs.
- Let the service know what skills, experience or talents you would be happy to share.