Project PLAY matches early childhood mental consultants with early care and education providers in Arkansas.
Our Free service offers innovative techniques proven to positively impact the social and emotional development of children.
Three Types of Consultation
Consultants work with teachers to improve the care offered to all children in their classrooms by helping identify attitudes, believes, practices, and classroom conditions that might undermine quality relationships between teachers and children.
When a specific child’s behavior concerns parents or teachers, the PLAY consultant helps them understand, assess and address the child’s needs by developing an individualized plan.
Directors and other program leaders are supported by PLAY consultants to make changes in their child care practices and policies to benefit all children and adults in their settings.
A teacher’s job is tough!
Project PLAY consultants help teachers with developmentally appropriate practices to deal with issues in early childhood classrooms, such as:
- Teacher Stress
- Challenging Child Behaviors
- Friendship Skills
- Building Self-Control
- Communication with Parents
- Classroom Schedules & Transitions and More!
Arkansas PDR identifies training opportunities for early childhood teachers in your area of Arkansas.
Learn a public health approach to supporting children’s social and emotional development from these two sites:
- Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
- Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention
Promote Stable, Quality Care
Science tells us children have better outcomes when they attend high quality child care. This is especially true of vulnerable children, like those in child protective services. Healthy growth and development in early childhood is dependent on nurturing relationships with stable adults.
Foster Care Facts
In Arkansas, over 3,000 children under the age of six are in foster care. Most of these children also attend child care. Unfortunately, most do not attend quality-rated child care, and many experience multiple switches in child care arrangements.
How We Help
Project PLAY strives to increase the percentage of children in quality child care, to decrease switches in child care placement, and to improve communication between important grown-ups caring for foster children.
- We prioritize services for centers serving children in foster care.
- We educate case workers, foster parents, courts, and CASA volunteers on the importance high quality, stable child care.
- We provide materials for use by child care providers, such as
- Children in Foster Care Brief (PDF)
- Meeting the Special Needs of Foster Children (PDF)
- A brief that provides teachers information on with children who have experienced trauma, including classroom strategies to support their social-emotional development.
- Child Care and Child Welfare Partnership Toolkit (PDF)
- Includes an Information Exchange Guide to “jump-start” the sharing of information between child care provider and family service worker.
Our new social story, My Teacher Wears a Mask was created to help address any potential fear or apprehension experienced by young children due to new guidance related to teachers’ use of protective masks.
Coping with COVID is a resource for center administrators using the 10 Components of Trauma-Informed Care to support children during/after COVID crisis.
- Fundamentals of School Readiness (PDF)
- Early Childhood Evidence Base (PDF) Dr. Deborah Perry – Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. Supporting Healthy Social and Emotional Child Development in Early Education Settings. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – May 17, 2011
Project PLAY Initiatives
Books for Children
Books for Teachers
- Emotional Life of the Toddler by Alicia F. Lieberman – Amazon
- The Secure Child: Helping Our Children Feel Safe and Confident in a Changing World by Stanley I. Greenspan – Amazon
- Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs edited by CarolCopple & Sue Bredekamp – NAEYC
- First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child by Stanley I. Greenspan and Nancy Thorndike Greenspan – Amazon
- Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
- Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
- Center on the Developing Child
Current Areas Served
- Zero to Three and Center for Effective Parenting offer parenting classes in Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas free of charge.
- Centers for Youth & Families offers parenting classes on various topics including Parenting the ADHD Child, Parenting the Strong Willed Child, and Parenting through Divorce.
- AAROC – Arkansas Autism Resource & Outreach Center designed to provide hope, direction, and support to parents of children on the autism spectrum.
- Better Beginnings, Arkansas Child Care Information. Find info on child care centers in your area. Learn what quality child care looks like and why it is important to early child development.
- Centers for Disease Control – Developmental Milestones Skills. Children reach milestones in how they move, play, learn, speak, and behave. This webpage shows what to expect from birth to five years old.
- This Mental Health Provider Checklist includes questions that parents can ask of mental health professional to learn if they are able to provide evidence-based treatment for childhood trauma.
Based on real data collected in Arkansas, the benefits of our consultation are proven to be effective.
- 74% reported learning new strategies for dealing with behavior problems.
- 87% reported good relationships with their Project PLAY consultants.
- Objective observers found that teachers were significantly more positive and engaged with children after consultation.
- 57% decrease in physically aggressive behavior
- 40% decrease in children exhibiting “clinical level” behavior problems.
- Significant decrease in teacher-reported behavior problems.
- Significant increase in teacher-reported social skills.
- Project PLAY Annual Report 2018-2019
- Project PLAY Annual Report 2017-2018
- Project PLAY Annual Report 2013-2014
Conners-Burrow, N. A., Whiteside-Mansell, L., Mckelvey, L., Virmani, E. A. and Sockwell, L. (2012), Improved classroom quality and child behavior in an Arkansas early childhood mental health consultation pilot project. Infant Ment. Health J., 33: 256–264. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21335 Link to Abstract
Conners-Burrow, N., McKelvey, L., Sockwell, L., Harman Ehrentraut, J., Adams, S. and Whiteside-Mansell, L. (2013), Beginning to “Unpack” Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Types of Consultation Services and Their Impact on Teachers. Infant Ment. Health J., 34: 280–289. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21387 Link to Abstract