The PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics published the 5th edition of Model Child Care Health Policies in October 2013. Significantly revised and updated, the new edition is a practical tool for adoption and implementation of best practices for health and safety in group care settings for young children. This edition replaces the previously published version and updates of individual policies that were posted on the ECELS website. ECELS encourages early education and child care professionals to adapt the model policies as site-specific documents that fit their programs. Two formats are available: one replicates the hard copy publication. The other format, posted 12-12-2014, has form fields that allow users to insert their site-specific details directly into the PDF document.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network seks to improve the quality of care and access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities in the U.S. This website is for parents, caregivers, educators and other professionals. To do their work, the NCTSN collaborates with health, mental health, education, law enforcement, child welfare, juvenile justice and military family service systems. Pertinent information for families and early education and child care providers includes information and suggested activities for families and educators to help children cope when they have experieced a traumatic event. 9/02/12

The National Center on Health offers visually attractive, simply stated resources for infant, toddler and preschool care. Anyone can down-load the electronic copies from the Internet. Head Start programs can order hard copy from the National Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. These materials have excellent content for teachers/caregivers to use in their programs and to share with families:

Growing Healthy Flipcharts

Take a look at the National Center’s Health Tips (Fact Sheets) for Families* (and teachers): Download an individual one page fact sheets when you need a handout on one of the topics or download the complete series in English [PDF, 1.2MB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 309KB]* The following topic are available as handouts:

Active Play includes tips to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop positive active play behaviors.

Health Literacy provides information about how to understand and use health information that doctors and other health professionals give.

Healthy Breathing provides information about eliminating first-hand, second-hand and third-hand exposure to tobacco smoke.

Healthy Eating offers easy tips to help infants, toddlers and preschool-age children learn healthy eating.

Mental Health provides information about how to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop positive mental health behaviors.

Oral Health offers tips to promote oral health in infancy through preschool age.

Safety and Injury Prevention: Tips for Families (2 pages) provides easy tips families can use to ensure their children's health and safety at home, outside, in the water, and in a car or truck.

Dealing with Stress is a 4 page guide with simply stated, clear tips to help cope with stress in a healthy way.


Teach how to manage aggressive behavior with "Play Nicely." Pediatrician Dr. Seth Scholer developed this 40 minute free instructional multi-media program. It is available at The Multimedia Program: Smartphone and Tablet Version runs on a computer. The program is Research done at the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University shows the instructional video lessens physical punishment. Many studies show physical punishment of young children is harmful. It fosters aggression, later mental health problems such as depression and an increased incidence of spouse and child abuse as physically punished children grow into adults.

State regulations require documentation that the child has received vaccines and screening tests according to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Any document (including an electronic printout from the child's medical record) that provides this information is acceptable. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) offers a form that allows health care providers to say whether the child is up to date, the CD 51. This Child Health Report form was last revised in 2008. It does not require the dates and results of the recommended screening tests. It has a check box to indicate "yes" or "no" that the child has received all the recommended screenings. The only screening information it requests is the results of any abnormal vision, hearing or lead screening. These are important, but not all the screenings that assess whether a child is healthy and ready to learn. 

This fact sheet provides general information about repetitive behaviors (e.g. Tics) for parents and caregivers of children in early education and care programs. It describes how to define the behaviors and develop strategies to decrease the frequency of their occurrence. Updated 6/2018

Resilience in the face of stress comes from having the necessary social and emotional skills to cope successfully. Resilient children demonstrate initiative, self-regulate, and draw on established relationships to cope in adverse circumstances. These skills make them resilient in school and in life. Resilient children can focus, follow directions, share, solve problems, and show they care about others.

Devereux is a non-profit organization that operates a national network of behavioral health services. The early childhood initiative is based in the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC). The three essential components of resilience described by Devereux are: Initiative, Self-regulation and Relationships.

Adults know that electronic gadgets with screens entertain young children. Handing a cell phone to a child in a grocery store can make shopping easier. However, adults should focus learning with language rich, socially interactive opportunities for the child to learn about what is in the store.

Screen experiences from TV, smartphones, computers and tablets do not promote personality development. Real world social interactions are necessary. Screen devices substitute viewing images for exploration of the environment. While children can learn something from what they see and hear on screen devices, they learn more easily from interactions with people and objects they can see, touch and manipulate. The bottom line is that screen time for young children should be limited to provide more opportunity for play and learning in the real world. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children less than 2 years of age should have NO screen time.*

Zero-to-Three published guidelines for use of screen devices in 2014.** The guidelines reviewed the research findings, the implications and limits to place on use of screen devices. For example, Zero-to-Three reported that, on average, children less than 3 years old are exposed to more than 5 hours of background TV. This exposure has a negative effect on the children’s development of language and other brain functions. It reduces the quality and quantity of play that is vital to learning.

 Screen Time, Digital Media Literacy:  What’s an ECE Practitioner to Do?

Two expert policy statements make recommendations about the appropriate use of media by young children. One is a statement from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in partnership with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (FRC). The other is from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The rapid development of digital media has evolved ahead of available research about their effects on children. Increasingy, we see parents putting their cell phones in the hands of their infants and toddlers to distract them while the parent is busy with something. Children have access to i-pads, cell phones, digital cameras and computers. Scientists who study brain development have evidence that early exposure to screens changes the way the brain is "wired" in ways that may lead to problems learning and relating to others. Definitive research is growing about how these devices affect young children. For now, we must rely on the expert policy statements from NAEYC-FRC and AAP. 


Screening young children’s development and behavior should be routine. Screening identifies children who need further evaluation to see if they have a problem. With early identification, children can receive services when they benefit the most from them.