National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness

School Readiness begins with Health!

The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW), is a collaborative effort with the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, Office of Child Care, Health Resources and Services Administration and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, with the goal of providing information and resources to health professionals working with Head Start and child care programs across the country. The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness is led by the American Academy of Pediatrics, in partnership with the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, UCLA Health Care Institute, Child Care Aware of America, the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education and Zero to Three. 

To learn more, visit the NCECHW portal.


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This manual is intended to assist early childhood education programs in making a plan that will help keep their program, center, or home safe during an emergency. The manual is designed to be a workbook-style document that includes information about emergency preparedness as well as corresponding worksheets that allow you to customize an emergency plan for your program, center, or home.

When working with families experiencing homelessness, it is important to remember that children’s health and housing security are closely intertwined.This document covers the various health and wellness needs that families experiencing homelessness encounter as well as resources available to programs in these areas. 

Child care health consultants (CCHCs) can use these modules to explore six interactive, realistic scenarios to build and enhance consultation skills in the following areas:

  • Creating collaborative relationships with programs
  • Using cultural competence to solve problems
  • Applying consultation skills to oral health promotion
  • Identifying and resolving concerns
  • Improving communication skills
  • Building trust with programs

Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOC Basics) represents the minimum health and safety standards required in Head Start and child care programs, family child care homes, and other places children are cared for outside of their own home. These standards seek to reduce redundancy across requirements for programs with multiple funding streams.

Encouraging tooth brushing in Head Start and child care programs helps promote oral health and teaches children a lifelong habit. Use this video to train staff to begin a daily toothbrushing program in Head Start and child care programs.

The Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) learning module highlights the role of the IECMHC. The interactive module is divided into lessons with realistic scenarios and short video clips. Each lesson has its own resource area designed to provide extensive support around IECMHC. 

Additional Resources
Additional Resources