Early Childhood Wellness Program

Information about the Early Childhood Wellness Program

Page updated on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:35 PM

The Early Childhood Wellness Program works in collaboration with Alexandria’s early childhood community to promote the healthy social emotional and behavioral health and development of young children ages 0-5 by strengthening caregiver-child relationships. The Early Childhood Wellness Team partners with caregivers to build healthy attachment relationships with a child, promote a child’s positive social emotional growth, and support caregivers meet a child’s specific needs.  

The Early Childhood Wellness Program consists of licensed mental health professionals who provide:

  • Infant and early childhood social emotional developmental assessments
  • Child specific Infant and Early childhood mental health consultation and treatment services
  • Classroom specific consultation services for preschool teachers to address group’s social skills development, emotional and behavioral needs
  • Interactive on-site trainings for pre-school teachers
  • Parenting workshops  

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC)

ECMHC includes culturally sensitive and primarily indirect services for children birth through six in group care and early education settings. Services include capacity building for staff and family members, directly observing children and the caregiving environment, and designing interventions that involve changes in the behaviors of caregivers. ECMH consultants collaborate with administrators, staff, family members, and caregivers who intervene directly with children in group care, early education, and/or home settings. ECMHC is intended to promote social and emotional development in children and transform children’s challenging behaviors.  Outcomes may be measured by the impact on children, parents, staff and programs.  Consultation is offered by persons with formal preparation in children’s mental health and experience working with young children and their families.  

Social Skills and Behavior Management

In Alexandria pre-schools and Head Start programs, the Early Childhood Wellness Program implements a research-based social skills program called Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices. This classroom model engages all children in developing personal, social and emotional skills. Al’s Pals provides 46 brief core lessons, using puppet-led discussions, songs and interactive materials to teach positive coping strategies. Al is at the heart of the program and serves as a positive role model, along with his pals Ty and Keisha. Through the lessons, children practice positive ways to:  

Express feelings
Differentiate between safe and unsafe situations
Solve problems
Care about others
Make and keep friends
Stop and think
Gain self-control
Accept differences
Solve problems peacefully
Express feelings appropriately
Use kind words  

Al’s Pals also provides educational information to families through “Parent Letters” that relay information about the skills the children are learning, and how to support pro-social skills at home.

For more information, call 703.746.6009