The KidsMatter Early Childhood Framework is informed by the best available evidence about young children's mental health. The Framework is divided into four Components; these guide ECEC services in ways to strengthen protective factors and minimise risk factors in children's lives.

The information below offers more detail about how we define mental health and the evidence-base for our Framework.

Our definition: What is mental health in early childhood?

The following definition has been jointly developed by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and the Community Services & Health Industry Skills Council (2012):

'Mental health in early childhood is seen in the capacity of a young child within the context of their development, family, environment and culture to: 

  • participate in the physical and social environment
  • form healthy and secure relationships
  • experience, regulate, understand and express emotions 
  • understand and regulate their behaviour
  • interact appropriately with others, including peers
  • develop a secure sense of self.

Early childhood mental health and wellbeing is related to healthy physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. Early childhood development and life experiences contribute strongly to a person’s mental health and wellbeing during childhood and later in life.'

Literature Review—Component 1: Creating a sense of community

Literature Review—Component 2: Developing children's social and emotional skills

Literature Review—Component 3: Working with parents and carers

Literature Review—Component 4: Helping children who are experiencing mental health difficulties

Find the evaluation of the pilot here too!