Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System.
Infant Mental Health Courses

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Professional Development Courses for Infant & Toddler Caregivers
  • This is a 10 part series offered online for professionals who want to obtain continuing education specific to infant mental health and early childhood development.
  • Courses covering a variety of infant mental topics can be enrolled in and/or completed at your convenience
  • To enroll in the online courses, you must create a Free Account
infant mental health courses


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The Importance of Healthy Brain Development

In this module, you will learn the importance of healthy brain development. We begin by discussing how our understanding of brain development has changed from past to present. We then describe how the brain develops and emphasize that healthy brain development is dependent upon responsive interactions and supportive attachment relationships. We also discuss how children learn language through interaction and overview the primary roles of the five major brain chemicals. In addition to illustrating the impact of trauma on the developing brain, we offer strategies for encouraging healthy brain development. Finally, we highlight the importance of predictable, consistent daily routines for supporting optimal brain development. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Infant Mental Health - What Is It and Why Is It Important

In this module, you will learn about the importance of infant mental health for young children's development. We begin by defining infant mental health and highlighting three of the key contributors to the field of infant mental health. We discuss several barriers to recognition for the field of infant mental health and describe why implementing infant mental health into practice has been challenging. We then overview the importance of early relationships for healthy brain development and emphasize the role of secure attachments and self-regulation for infant mental health. Finally we describe infant stress signals and discuss why an understanding of infant mental health is vitally important for early childhood caregivers. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Self-Regulation - The Building Block of Learning

In this module, you will learn about self-regulation in infancy and toddlerhood. We begin by defining self-regulation and describing why self-regulation is a vital part of young children's development. We then consider the emerging regulatory capabilities of infants and toddlers, as well as the many ways in which caregivers can support the development of children's self-regulation. Using research and practice to discuss infant and toddler temperament, we illustrate how children of varying temperaments may respond to the caregiving environment. Finally, we encourage caregivers to reflect on their own regulatory strategies, in addition to their preferences for young children's temperaments. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

All About Infants

In this module, you will learn all about infant development and care. We begin by discussing the foundations of infant development, including the critical importance of having a loving caregiver. We discuss infants' amazing abilities and consider best practices for supporting infant development and self-regulation. Through an emphasis on daily activities like drop-off, diaper changes, feeding, and playtime, we demonstrate how caregivers can build relationships and promote sensory development. The importance of tummy time and daily position changes are described as tools for optimal brain and muscle development. We also consider how infants communicate their needs for interaction, as well as how to best support infants during growth spurts. Finally, we offer multiple strategies for calming a fussy infant. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

The Issue of Separation for Infants and Toddlers in Child Care

In this module, you will learn about the issue of separation for infants and toddlers. We begin by defining separation and describing how separation is related to important developments, including object permanence, stranger awareness, and separation anxiety. Emphasis is placed on the role of separation in the child's attachment relationships. We then consider how self-regulation impacts separation and identify possible causes for concern. Next, we provide an overview of the role of temperament in children's responses to separation. Finally we point out signs that a young child is becoming attached to a caregiver and offer suggestions for helping children with separation through the use of transitional objects, consistent routines, and books. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Sensory Processing - The Good, The Bad, and What To Do

In this module, you will learn about sensory processing in very young children. We begin by defining sensory processing and listing the seven senses. We then consider healthy sensory development and overview a variety of activities that support sensory processing and development. In addition, we discuss specific sensory difficulties and disturbances and describe general behaviors that may be associated with sensory integration difficulties. We then illustrate typical and atypical sensory integration and outline specific strategies for helping children with sensory difficulties. Finally, we emphasize the importance of partnering with parents and offer guidelines for seeking additional help for children who display sensory difficulties. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Welcoming Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders into the Classroom

In this module, you will learn about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. We begin by defining FASD and considering how fetal development may be affected by mothers' alcohol use during pregnancy. Next we consider the prevalence of FASD along with factors that may contribute to the development of FASD. We then discuss the importance of evaluating our own biases towards children and families who may be impacted by FASD. Using research and practice, we consider the impact of FASD on critical aspects of young children's brain, cognitive, language, and social-emotional development. Finally, we discuss strategies for welcoming children with FASD into the classroom and supporting optimal infant and toddler development, including identifying individual strengths and challenges, managing expectations, and adapting the environment.  

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Self-Care and Reflective Supervision

In this module, you will learn about the importance of self-care for caregivers. We begin by discussing what self-care is and what it looks like in the lives of caregivers. We then define reflection and describe the process and goals of reflective supervision. We focus on how, through reflective supervision, caregivers can build a trusting relationship, internalize the importance of reflection, work through the emotional content of their work, and promote professional development. Finally, we discuss the link between reflective supervision and reflective practice and highlight the importance of developing self-compassion for effective self-care. 

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Cultural Sensitivity

In this module, you will learn about cultural sensitivity. We begin be defining culture and describing the three elements of culture. We describe how cultures may differ along the dimensions of context, individualism vs. collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, proxemics, kinesics, and paralanguage. We then briefly discuss the benefits and challenges of dual language learners. Next, we outline nine pathways to cultural sensitivity and emphasize strategies for effective communication with families when caregivers do not share the same language. Finally, we offer strategies for making a child care setting culturally competent.  

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50

Child Maltreatment

Talking about child maltreatment can be a difficult discussion to have, but at First 3 Years we know that when given the proper education, providers can feel confident reporting in the unfortunate event they suspect child maltreatment. This training will go over the different types of maltreatment, what it looks like, the steps for reporting, as well as some coping mechanisms for professionals who make a report. Throughout the training we will review case studies to give providers situational examples, and time to reflect on how they would respond.  

credit hours: 1 hr course price: Pay First certificate fee: 7.50