Sharon Baptist Head Start has long-standing relationships with many health service providers in the community; many of which are formal relationships with signed agreements. Our agency uses these partners to assist parents who need medical providers for themselves as well as their children. We work to create a “medical home” for each family if they currently do not have a provider. Our community partners are aware of our agency’s health requirements and are flexible in accommodating our children for physical examinations, hearing and vision screenings, dental examinations and follow-up care. The goals of Sharon Baptist Head Start are to provide resources to parents, to be proactive regarding the challenges of limited health resources and funding, and to educate parents to maximize their advocacy role to ensure their child’s and family’s well-being.
At Sharon Baptist Head Start, our nutrition staff is trained and familiar with the various CACFP and NYC Agency Food Standards. All have experience planning menus and child development. Our community-based linkages with Cornell University Cooperative Nutrition Extension Program, Eat Well Play Hard and Nutrition Plus Network afford us the ability to have consultants come into our program as assist with training, monitoring children’s nutritional deficiencies and working with staff and parents to ensure the children’s optimal growth.
Our Nutrition Plan outlines a procedure that ensures staff and parents work together to plan meals and to incorporate special dietary needs into the regular menus. We also consult with others such as a child nutrition consultant or a registered dietitian to help plan meals for the children with special diets. We explore ways to make sure that children with special diets feel comfortable and to the highest degree possible are included in the mealtime practices.
For children with medical nutritional needs, such as Type 2 Diabetes, the ‘Multi-Disciplinary Team’ meets with the parent to create an Individual Service Health Plan (ISHP). The Multi-Disciplinary Team consists of the Health Coordinator, Family/Community Partnership Services (FCPS) worker, child’s teacher, Disabilities Coordinator, Food Services Specialist (on-site cook), Nutrition Consultant, and the Nutrition Coordinator.
All nutrition staffs are trained in agency procedures for feeding children with food allergies or special dietary concerns, as well as in emergency procedures. The children’s classroom folders contain nutritional information (possible ISHP, or Nutritionist’s recommendations) that is needed to assure the teacher and other classroom staff that a child’s nutritional and special dietary needs are met. As the information in these folders is confidential, we have a system where a document with a ‘red X’ is posted in the classroom with a cover to ensure confidentiality. This alerts all classroom staff and volunteers that there is a child with special dietary needs in this classroom. All teaching staff is aware of the document and its meaning.
Join our ROOFTOP GARDEN CLUB at Bathgate Avenue. For information contact Barbara Linton, Nutrition Consultant at 917-617-5765.
- Mental Health
Sharon Baptist Head Start has an active mental health program which promotes a supportive environment to enrich children’s emotional, social, and psychological development. Our program seeks to emphasize the strengths of each child by providing many classroom activities where they can excel. Children are encouraged to become independent and are assisted with group-learning opportunities and with positive conflict resolution methods if needed.
There are mental health wellness activities planned for children, parents, and staff throughout the program year. Some of these activities include using the Creative Curriculum in the classroom which has a focus on the emotional and social health of children and involving parents in a mental health prevention program by providing specific reading materials and workshops on child growth and development; i.e., Social / Emotional Development, Development of Play, and Positive Parenting. If there is a suspected mental health issue identified through screenings, observation, or parent concerns, individual consultations are available for the parent and staff by mental health providers (psychologist consultant, Special Services Director or Mental Health Coordinator) who provide various strategies to assist the child to reach his/her potential, both in the classroom and at home.
Mental health services are discussed during parent orientations meetings. Parents are involved in the developmental screening process for their children by participating with the child’s teacher to complete the Social-Emotional/Self-Help scales that help to identify potential mental health issues in children. All scales are reviewed by one of our mental health consultants and follow–up is implemented and tracked, as required using the agency’s ChildPlus program (a software program that is multi-functional and designed to assist in follow-up activities). Teachers meet with parents three times yearly for parent conferences to allow parents an opportunity to raise concerns and share information about their child’s well-being.
Mental Wellness support is offered to staff as well as parents and children. The agency has adopted a wellness procedure that is outlined in its Personnel Manual – Employee Assistance Plan.
Mental health issues affect all of the society in some way or another. Sharon Baptist has a group of staff that consist of Mental Health First Aid certified trainers. The staff’s mission is to provide each member 8-hour courses that will help them acquire the basic knowledge and skills to respond to an individual in distress.
Contact the Executive Director, Barbara Manners firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you may participate in Mental Health First Aid training to be offered in the future.
“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.”
– Former President Bill Clinton
Please call us at 718-466-1604, for more details regarding our Health Programs.