For early childhood mental health advocates
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KAIMH Connections

Resources for Early Childhood Mental Health Advocates

Updates |  May 2024

Highlights in this newsletter include the winner of the Alice Eberhart-Wright Visionary Award, new Infant Mental Health Endorsee, and upcoming classes, as well as resources and information on supporting young children's mental health.

Congratulations to the 2024 AEW Recipient Shana Schmidt!



The Alice Eberhart-Wright Visionary Award recognizes outstanding achievements and significant contributions in the field of infant and early childhood mental health. The award is given to those who represent the mission of KAIMH and illustrate passion, creativity and best practices in their work supporting infant and early childhood mental health in Kansas.

Shana's acceptance speech at the annual KAIMH Conference was heartfelt and her message was, "They say it takes a village. Our village is composed of our matriarch, Alice, for whom this award is named. A true visionary and storyteller that I am honored to be associated with.

Across the span of my 30-year career I have witnessed multiple changes and challenges to the strength of our village. The privatization of foster care, the creation of the Children’s Cabinet, and the understanding that early childhood emotional and relational development has a place in the mental health community. With each change came a challenge, yet slowly we saw a change.

Services such as training, consultation, coaching, and reflective supervision have taken me to every corner of our state and into many of your programs. From Hiawatha to Garden City, you each became a part of my village. You taught me about your community and the needs that are specific to that population. You laughed with me, and sometimes at me, when I made ridiculous assumptions about what I thought I knew your community needed.

The mentors in this room held me up when I took myself way too seriously, and the new energies entering this field of work rebuilt my hope for the future.

Look around you. This is your village."



Integrating mental health care into primary care, and providing mental health programs in schools, workplaces, and communities can improve the well-being of everyone. “Advocacy” doesn’t always mean talking to a government official or local leader. There are things everyone can do to improve the way mental health conditions are perceived and treated. Mental Health America has these resource below for you to use and share.

Learn how modern life affects mental health with new tools to navigate our changing world.
Act by building your coping toolbox so you can manage stress, difficult emotions, and challenging situations.
Advocate to improve mental health for yourself, your friends and family, and your community.

Parenting Videos

The Child Mind Institute has developed helpful videos to share with parents on everyday topics. Check out this video on tips for communicating with toddlers.

Congratulations to our newest Infant Mental Health Endorsee!



Melissa Bowles, IMH-E®

Melissa says, "Being a family childcare provider the last 20 years I am blessed to serve children, families and fellow providers in many ways across the state. One way is to support their mental health. With a family history of mental health I have always fostered a childcare environment that is inclusive of all and built on the foundation of relationships. This not only means I connect well with my children in care, I also take the effort to connect and support the adults in the children’s lives as well. Having the Infant Mental Health Endorsement is a way I can show my families and colleagues that I am committed to supporting mental health in the early childhood field. They can reach out with questions and support knowing that I provide an environment that is high quality with strong connections for all infants, toddlers, and families."

Expulsion in the Early Years



A child's first experiences with school can set the tone for their educational career. Positive early experiences set the groundwork for establishing that school and learning are a fun adventure. However, when children experience expulsion in the pre-K years, it can set up a negative cycle and impact their relationship with future school experiences. Check out this article on how state decision-makers are critical to reducing preschool expulsions. 

Safe Space Portable Boxes

A preschool classroom in St. Peters Missouri uses, "Little Safe Space" boxes that contain tools to help students practice self-regulation and emotional identification throughout the day. They are small, portable versions of a calming physical space that hold items the students can use throughout the day to practice self-regulation and emotional identification To read more about how the kits are made and used, as well as other helpful tools check out the link below. 

 May - June Professional Development


Check out these upcoming professional development opportunities that support your Infant Mental Health Endorsement® from the Early Childhood Investigations Webinars, Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities, Kansas Children's Service League, and Child Care Aware network.

Theoretical Foundations

Trauma Responsive Practices, May 15
The Impact of Trauma in Early Child Care, May 19
Better Brains 1: Foundations in Brain Development and Learning, June 6- 13
Advanced Trauma Responsive Practices, June 12
The Growing Brain: Everyday Play, June 12

Law, Regulation and Agency Policy

Wrestling with Safe Sleep, May 11
Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children®, May 20

Systems Expertise

Child Abuse and Neglect Recognition & Reporting and Abusive Head Trauma, May 11
Understanding Family Homelessness Part 2, May 16 - 23

Direct Service Skills

Positive Behavior Expectations, May 15
Social and Emotional Teaching Strategies, May 16
Supporting Relationships Through Engaging Environments, May 16 - 23
Be a Transition Magician, May 21
Supporting Anxious Children, June 5
Teaching Strategies to Enhance Transitions, June 6- 13
“Sense”ational Infant and Toddler Environments, June 10th

Working With Others

Role of Childcare Provider in Developmental Screening & Reporting, May 23
Postpartum Depression: Supporting Families in Child Care, May 30
Promoting Family Engagement with Infant and Toddler Families, June 6 - 13


Course Bundle: Family Matters, June 13 - July 18


Child Development: Connecting Development to Practice, June 6-13
Racial Equity and Early Childhood Education, June 6- 13


Mindfulness for Early Childhood Professionals, June 6 - 13
Mindfulness, June 13

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