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Building Early Education Strategies (BEES)

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To better care for children, many child care providers including Centers, Family Friends and Neighbors (FFN) in addition to Family Child Care Centers undergo training on a comprehensive list of topics from health and safety to early childhood education. One important area of focus is supporting a child’s emotional well-being and social emotional development. Child Care Resource Center’s Building Early Education Strategies (BEES) Program offers guidance to providers, children and their families.

What’s is the Goal of the BEES program?

When children act out or express strong, uncontrolled behaviors like throwing toys, tantrums or disobedience, certain tools can help the child cope and recover. Through CCRC’s free Building Early Education Strategies (BEES) program, a trained mental health consultant works with providers to assess the emotional and social needs of the children in their care.

Those who completed the program continually see a positive change and feel more confident, competent, and in control. A survey showed 100% of participants saw improvements in the behavior of children in their care. Program amenities including feedback sessions, a support system, new strategies for handling behavioral issues, and tools to deal with pandemic impacts on children and staff have become valuable tools offered by the BEES program.

The BEES program offers three different types of Mental Health Consultation. The provider can choose the type of consultation they need help with, or they can choose to have a combination of any or all of the types of consultation. Detailed information about the three types of consultation can be found below:

1. Classroom Focused Consultation

Classroom Focused Consultation explores the relationships between infants, young children and adults while also respecting the cultures, languages, and abilities of each person. This consultation supports staff in facilitating consistent routines and developmentally appropriate interactions in addition to how elements of any learning environment support a child’s social and emotional development. A consultant helps foster positive relationships among early childhood educators (ECE) and assists in establishing routines in a learning environment.

2. Child and Family Focused Consultation

Child and Family Focused Consultation gives families and early childhood educators (ECE) an understanding of how to respond to a child’s or parent’s mental health needs. We partner with families and staff to understand a particular family’s life to support the child’s and family’s well-being. During this type of consultation, we can offer referrals and resources within in the community to support the child and parents.

3. Program Focused Consultation

Program Focused Consultation focuses on collaborating with program leadership to resolve issues with program structure and/or professional development  as they relate to supporting young children’s social and emotional development. We can offer various trainings for early childhood educators including Compassion Fatigue, Cozy Corners, Grief and Loss, Helping Children Calm Strong Feelings, and more.

How Does the BEES program work?

The BEES program uses a 3-step process that begins with observation from a CCRC mental health consultant, who observes a child care set-up and interactions between the children and provider. The observation can take place virtually or in person.

Step 1: Observation

During observation, the consultant considers the care environment – possible disruptions in the play area including overstimulating décor and colors, interactions between children and staff, how the children interact with each other, the interactions between the staff and how children respond to the staff’s directives and the use of certain vocabulary.

Step 2: Feedback Session

After the observation period, a feedback session with the provider allows the consultant to bring up any issues discovered during the observation and help determine a strategy for improvement. The feedback session is collaborative and designed to be open-ended, allowing a safe space to share concerns and identify solutions. The mental health consultant can provide additional observation sessions on an as-needed basis.

Step 3: Ongoing Support

Ongoing support and troubleshooting is available after program completion as-needed. The BEES program is designed to be concise and efficient; the intake process takes approximately 1 hour, a classroom or care setting observation takes about 2 hours, and a feedback session can last 1 hour or more, depending on the provider’s needs. While the overall experience takes 3 to 5 hours, the positive results of participating in the BEES program can benefit children, parents and providers now and far into the future.

Meet Denise, one of our mental health consultants:

Denise Torres is a mental health consultant with a background in therapeutic services for children ages birth to five. She is one of three consultants available to providers through CCRC’s Building Early Education Strategies (BEES) program.

“We are able to focus on developmental milestones and determine if the children are meeting them or they’re delayed” says Denise. We can recognize if there’s noncompliant behavior they’re experiencing from the children or if those behaviors might be caused from trauma. We can also observe whether the provider or teacher is experiencing some type of trauma or triggers in the classroom and provide strategies on how to address it. You’re going to have an extra set of eyes in the classroom, you’re already very busy dealing with the kids’ behavior, the curriculum, sanitizing hands and toys – you’re dealing with so much. By offering that extra set of eyes in the classroom, our mental health consultants can share valuable insights that a busy child care provider doesn’t have time to see. We watch for triggers, and take note of the strengths and challenges of the providers and children. Through observation and meaningful consultation, CCRC’s consultants work to ensure providers, parents, and their children have the information and resources to live happy and functional lives.”