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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

Introduction to the Head Start Social-Emotional Wellness Team

Supervisor. As the Social-Emotional Wellness Consultant, Dr. Steve Hupp oversees the Social-Emotional Wellness Team. He is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Professor in the SIUE Department of Psychology. The Social-Emotional Team provides services for both regular Head Start and Early Head Start.

Social-Emotional Specialists (from the SIUE Department of Psychology). Social-Emotional Specialists are Graduate Assistants who work for 20 hours each week to organize the Social-Emotional Wellness screens, provide interventions for children, provide teacher consultation, and provide parent consultation. Specialists typically have a bachelor's degree in psychology and are working on an advanced degree.

School Psychology Practicum Students (from SIUE). Practicum students are students enrolled in the Clinical Child and School Psychology graduate program at SIUE. They are required to work a total of 90 hours during the semester. They average 6 hours each week, primarily helping with the screenings and S.H.A.R.E. groups.

Second Step Students (from SIUE). Second Step Students are paired up in teams of two. They receive course credit for implementing social-emotional lessons in several classrooms.

Social-Emotional Wellness Services Provided

Second Step Prevention. All of the Second Step lessons are presented to all children in Head Start. Second Step teaches children about empathy, emotion management, and problem solving. Second Step students typically visit the classrooms two times a week.

Literacy Promotion. The Social-Emotional and Wellness Team collects gently-used children’s books and sends at least one home with each child accompanied by a handout for parents about how to use print referencing to promote literacy. Second Step Students also use print referencing when they have extra time to volunteer in the classroom.  

Initial & Follow-Up Screens. Within 45 days, Social-Emotional Specialists and School Psychology Practicum Students conduct an observation of each child. Additional information is provided by teachers and parents. If there are concerns noted during the initial screen, the Social-Emotional Specialist conducts a follow-up screen.

S.H.A.R.E. Groups. Based on the screen, some children are invited to participate in a group called S.H.A.R.E. (Social Health and Academic Readiness Enrichment) conducted by a Practicum Students. The lessons include: 1) Playing with friends, 2) Following instructions, and 3) Paying attention.

Parent Conferences. A parent conference is a meeting set up by a Social-Emotional Specialist when a social-emotional referral has been made (usually by a teacher or through the screening process). Those typically involved in the conference include the parent(s), a teacher, and the Social-Emotional Specialist. The primary goal of the meeting includes getting parent feedback so the Social-Emotional Wellness Team can provide intervention and consultation.

Parent Presentations & Consultation. Social-Emotional Specialists provide brief workshops during some of the regularly scheduled Head Start parent meetings. Parents also sometimes join the individual interventions or are otherwise provided feedback during the parent conference. Occasionally, parents are referred to outside agencies for additional help.

Teacher Training & Consultation. The Social-Emotional Team is often involved in providing workshops for teachers. Teacher consultation is also interwoven throughout every aspect of social-emotional wellness services. Sometimes teacher consultation is provided for individual children, and other times it is provided for entire classrooms.

Small Group & Individual Interventions. Intervention is done with both small groups of children as well as individual children. Intervention usually begins with play time in which the child gets to choose the play activity and the Specialist, teacher and/or parent provides specific types of positive attention. Then treatment moves to behavioral skills training which is a broad term used to describe a method for teaching news skills. The basic components include: modeling (showing them what to do), instructions (telling them how to do it), rehearsal (letting them practice the skill), and feedback (letting them know how well they did). In-class coaching is also used.

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