HealthyCHILD and HealthyInfants

HealthyCHILD and HealthyInfants are trauma-informed, culturally sensitive tiered models of social-emotional supports, for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and their teachers/caregivers and parents/guardians. A mobile interdisciplinary team of developmental healthcare consultants implement the tiered models, on-site and virtually, via education, collaborative consultation and problem solving, and technical assistance. The goal is to empower adults to create supportive and incusive environments, build responsive relationships, promote social emotional growth and mental wellness, and effectively respond to challenging behavior that often stems from unaddressed trauma, mental health challenges and discrimination.

Currently, HealthyCHILD and HealthyInfants Consultants are providing support to approximately 220 early childhood education (ECE) locations in allegheny county and 50 ECE locations in Philadelphia, PA.

Reach out to Dr. Larson directly at tracy.larson@pitt.edu to learn more.

 

What's Going on with HealthyCHILD?

The Comforting Capacity of Books- Helping Young Children Cope with Trauma

by HealthyCHILD Director, Dr. Tracy Larson and PRIDE Director, Dr. Aisha White

Stop by the Office of Child Development’s HealthyCHILD (HC) office any day of the week during the school year and you will likely find empty space. If your visit is in the spring or fall, you’ll also find the P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) team out and about, offering learning sessions for parents. Both of these teams travel all over the city of Pittsburgh to provide their programming. HealthyCHILD helps early educators and families build their capacity to promote children’s social-emotional wellness. P.R.I.D.E. helps parents build the knowledge and skills they need to help their children develop positive attitudes about their skin color, history, and people.

Although providing guidance to adults about how to help children cope with trauma and feel valued, acknowledged and accepted is nothing new for HC and Parent Village staff, responding after the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue has been difficult. Understandably, like most of you, we are experiencing heavy emotions after hearing about the senseless loss of so many lives. In an effort to help, we have been working closely with Pittsburgh teachers, children, and families to process emotions, identify coping strategies and provide guidance on how adults can help young children. As a parent/guardian or teacher, you may be wondering, “what can I do to help?”.

Families and teachers play an important part in helping to reestablish a sense of normalcy and security for children after an act of violence occurs. Even though most teachers and parents/guardians do not have skills to provide therapy, teachers and parents can create a space where children feel safe and secure. One way they can do that is by using books to help children learn about and understand frightening experiences and cope with their own feelings of anxiety or fear. Storytelling and reading have long been recognized for their therapeutic potential.

P.R.I.D.E.’s Parent Village program regularly provides books for African American parents that help their children feel good about all aspects of themselves. HealthyCHILD regularly provides and utilizes books to build children’s social-emotional skills and help start conversations around tough topics and during scary times. We do this because we understand the ways books can support children’s positive identity and social-emotional development. Below is a list of books parents and teachers may want to consider reading to help young children cope with trauma, anxiety, and loss.

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HealthyCHILD Program Bridges Resource Gap For Schools, Families at Home