In May 2020, the PIEC Team launched a series of facilitated community conversations focused on infant and early childhood mental health consultation and all of the related implications for the child care and early education workforce, and our youngest children and their families, during this unprecedented time COVID-19 response. Consultants, providers, advocates, & Directors and Administrators represented a range of organizations including:
APPLES for Children
Arundel Child Care Connections
Baltimore County Public Schools
Carroll County Youth Service Bureau
Cecil County Public Schools
Chesapeake Child Care Resource Center
Frederick County Family Partnership
Greenbelt Children’s Center
Howard County Child Care Resource Center
Human Services Program of Carroll County
Kent Family Center
Maryland Family Network
Maryland State Department of Education
Mental Health Association of Frederick County
Montgomery County Government
Prince George’s Child Resource Center
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Promise Resource Center
St. Paul Lutheran School Catonsville
St. Thomas’ Preschool
The Coordinating Center
The Family Tree
University of Maryland School of Social Work
Wicomico County Public Schools
Wicomico County Government
YMCA of Cumberland MD
The conversation appropriately spanned many topics that all focused on how consultation programs and child care providers are pivoting now to continue to support children and families – and what the future will hold. Themes included topics such as:
Programs struggling to continue to engage families, who themselves are overwhelmed and in survival mode, and seemingly are not as responsive as they had been previously.
Anxiety about reopening, what centers will need and if the workforce will be willing, what children and their caregivers will need to feel safe – and what protocols to ensure health and safety will impact social emotional learning practices.
The importance of the early childhood workforce to focus on adults (parents, caregivers, child care providers and educators) and support their stress responses during this time. Don’t under-estimate the impact of small interactions, checking in on how the adults are doing, when they are managing big and small stresses without clarity.
Biweekly office hours on Wednesdays are offered as a drop-in opportunity for consultants to discuss what they are seeing and what supports they need.