This program is for individuals who work with infants or toddlers, or who wish to do so. It gives students a strong foundation in the emerging field of early childhood mental health. Students learn the developmental importance of caring relationships to healthy brain development and strong social and emotional growth throughout the lifespan.
This program focuses on the practical skills needed to work with children from birth to 36 months in a variety of settings in order to promote resilience. Upon completion of the program, students will have the background and portfolio necessary to apply for the Pennsylvania Family Associate in Infant Mental Health Endorsement (IMH-E®) (http://www.pa-aimh.org/overview.html ).
Students complete multiple observation and practicum experiences in infant and toddler settings. In addition, a co-requisite course in reflective supervision allows them to work closely with their college and site supervisors to deepen the connection between their academic learning and its application in a work environment that meets the needs of infants, toddlers and their families.
Students must have three current clearances: FBI Fingerprint Clearance, a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Clearance, and a Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse History Clearance and meet the local requirements of the field placement site, including the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) Verification Clearance. Students may also be required to document that they have had a recent physical and TB test.
This certificate demonstrates that the student is highly qualified for many positions in the early childhood field such as nanny, infant/toddler teacher or assistant, or paraprofessional in a range of settings, such as Early Head Start, therapeutic nurseries and treatment facilities that offer mother and child placements. Completion of the Infant Mental Health Certificate prepares students to apply for the Family Associate Infant Mental Health Endorsement (IMH-E®) in the state of Pennsylvania. This state endorsement is aligned with national early childhood mental health standards. The Endorsement, if granted by PA-AIMH (Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health), may also qualify students for entry level positions in the field of early childhood mental health, depending on a composite of their educational qualifications and experience.
Upon completion of the program students will:
- Apply current research on brain development and resilience to promote social and emotional development in children.
- Describe the impact of trauma on young children and their families.
- Use developmentally appropriate, relationship-based and culturally sensitive strategies to work with very young children and their families.
- Identify the steps to become a professional in the field of Infant Mental Health.
- Work collaboratively with a caregiving team, based on the principles of reflective supervision.