Central Valley SBHC Early Childhood Initiative

Child Development & Academic Performance

Physical and socio-emotional health affect both Kindergarten readiness and K-3 academics: pain from untreated health or dental problems is distracting; acute illnesses cause fatigue; chronic diseases can impair concentration; and mental health problems can lead to disruptive behavior in the classroom.

School-based health centers (SBHCs) address the health needs and academic success of students by:

  • treating the dental and medical needs of students at school
  • providing information for Individualized Education Programs
  • assessing chronically-absent students
  • providing mental health assessments or services for children with behavioral issues
  • providing parent education about children’s health and developmental issues

SBHCs present a unique opportunity to support the goals of early childhood development and student success. By addressing children’s health issues, supporting interventions related to behavior and socio-emotional development, and engaging parents, SBHCs create a stronger foundation for multiple aspects of child development and academic performance.

The Central Valley School-Based Health Center Early Childhood Collaborative

To increase the impact that SBHCs have in early childhood development and third grade readiness, the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) is launching the Central Valley School-Based Health Center (SBHC) Early Childhood Collaborative.

The collaborative will increase coordination between SBHCs, their host schools, and early childhood providers to improve information sharing, referrals, communication, and SBHC programs. Nine SBHCs in Fresno and Tulare counties will participate in this collaborative:

What We Aim to Achieve

CSHA will provide the collaborative training and facilitation to meet the following objectives:

Establish a vision for SBHCs in success by 3rd grade. We will launch this project by convening SBHCs, school and district staff, county offices of education, and early childhood initiatives to help stakeholders develop a shared vision for the role of SBHCs in promoting student success by 3rd grade.

Foster partnerships within the counties. We will facilitate meetings between medical providers and school staff at five SBHCs to identify and work towards shared goals to support at-risk K-3 students. We will then build on our extensive experience helping medical providers and school staff work together to share strategies and troubleshoot as they implement new procedures.

Build capacity among SBHC staff in early childhood. We will build the capacity of SBHC staff by exposing them to the work of early childhood experts and initiatives, such as First Five and Help Me Grow.

Strengthen SBHC-school partnerships for success by 3rd Grade. We will identify and build on the shared goals of the SBHCs and schools. We will develop new policies or procedures for the schools and SBHCs to work together to reach their goals.

This project is funded by the Central Valley Community Foundation.