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Early Childhood Health Services Basics

On-Demand • Online • 1 PD Hour

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Head Start Basics Series:

Health and wellbeing serve as the foundation of school readiness and child development. This course explores how early childhood programs can use Head Start’s whole-child approach to support children, families, and communities on their paths to success.


Health and wellbeing serve as the foundation of school readiness and child development. The Head Start model takes a whole-child approach by providing comprehensive health services and support to children and families. Head Start and Early Head Start programs work with children and families to ensure they have consistent, high-quality access to critical health services like immunizations, vision, dental, hearing, and mental health support. This course provides learners with a solid overview of how early childhood programs can use the Head Start model to help meet children's and families’ needs.

Learners successfully completing this course will understand the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) requirements regarding health and how they can support the overall wellbeing of children and their families, regardless of their specific role.

Start Date: Available on-demand

Course Level: Beginner

Requirements/Prerequisites: None

Target Audience: Instruction and Effective Practice, Leadership and Management, Program Operations, Support Services

Course Meeting Times: None

Completion Timeline/Duration: One Month

Alignment with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF): This course supports programs in meeting the 1302 Subpart D—Health Program Services requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards in which programs must “provide high-quality health, oral health, mental health, and nutrition services that are developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and that will support each child’s growth and school readiness.” Additionally, it helps programs meet 1301.5, 1302.92 Training and professional development requirements.

Course Outline

Module Topics:

  1. Head Start Health Overview
  3. Food Allergies
  4. Asthma
  5. Family Health

Learning Objectives:

  • Learners will understand the responsibilities of Head Start programs as they relate to the health of enrolled children and their families. 
  • Learners will understand what SIDS/SUID are, the differences between them and how to mitigate risk. 
  • Learners will understand basic food allergies in young children, how to respond to known allergies, and how to ensure a safe environment for all children. 
  • Learners will understand what asthma is and how it impacts young children. They will know how to respond to a child with asthma to ensure the safest environment possible. 
  • Learners will understand how Head Start supports the whole family related to health issues, creating a healthy family environment so all children can thrive.

Course Author

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. B served as director of the Office of Head Start from 2018-21. From 2019-21 she broadened her leadership as director of the Office of Early Childhood Development in the Administration for Children and Families. Known as "Dr. B" to former students and teachers, she spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and school administrator. She currently serves as deputy director for Community Engagement and Innovation at the National Head Start Association.

Available exclusively on


  • Online, Self-paced Content
  • 3 Hours of Course Material
  • Video Content
  • 45 Days of Access to Online Course
  • Digital Badge
  • Certificate of Completion with Professional Development Hours
  • 24/7 Access to Transcript

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