Given the isolation created by the pandemic, it is not surprising that some of our youngest students struggle with basic social skills, like how to interact with their classmates and teachers, how to wait their turn, how to ask for help, and even how to play. These are all skills young children would have developed in preschool had it existed for them.

I am pleased to read that Waterville’s Mitchell School is adding a staff member to support children struggling with social emotional needs. I would also like to share that there is a newly expanded state program, the Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) designed to help teachers in public schools and child care programs to support young children’s social, emotional and behavioral needs. And, best yet, this program has openings for children in Kennebec County.

Maine ECCP is a no-cost early childhood mental health consultation program available to licensed child care centers and family child care providers, public schools, and afterschool programs serving children from birth to 8 years old. ECCP is an evidence-based consultation service that offers on-site strategies, support, staff training and education, to support children’s emotional wellbeing and coach teachers on methods to effectively manage challenging behavior. Services may be requested by families, child care programs, public schools and afterschool programs.

More information is available online at the Early Childhood Childhood Consultation webpage.

Maine law enforcement leaders supported the creation of Maine ECCP several years ago and its expansion statewide earlier this year because we want to see every child succeed in school and in life. That is the best recipe to help children avoid behaviors that could lead down a path of bad decision making later in life.

Ken Mason

sheriff, Kennebec County


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