University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover

Bridging Education and Mental Health

Earn 42 clock hours or 1 academic credit

Next session: June 5 to August 7, 2017

The goal of this course is to find common ground between behavioral and therapeutic approaches to supporting children who engage in challenging behavior. The course material expands on both the functional behavioral assessment and relationship-based teaching to explore what causes and sustains maladaptive behavioral patterns in children's actions and interactions and how early childhood professionals can support the healthy social and emotional development of children. A continuum of intervention strategies are offered to address the varying needs of children: typically developing children, children with disabilities, and children with and without disabilities who have experienced trauma, neglect, and other environmental and relationships issues.

The course has eight learning modules:

Module 1: Understanding the Philosophies and Theories Associated with BEAM

Module 2: Developing and Maintaining Positive Relationships with Children

Module 3: Developing and Maintaining Positive Relationships with Colleagues

Module 4: Environments and Experiences that Enhance Children's Development

Module 5: Interventions for Instruction and Interaction

Module 6: Assessment--Asking Why Tells Us How

Module 7: Child-specific Interventions

Module 8: Putting It All Together

This online course is approved by the Minnesota Center for Professional Development to count toward career lattice steps and approved by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) for their members (ICEA accepts a maximum of 24 clock hours per course).

International students are welcome!


For 42 clock hours: $400 registration fee plus required textbook*

For 1 academic credit: $400 plus required textbook*

Registration Information

To register for clock hours:

  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register and pay online. You will receive a confirmation of registration.
  3. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

To register for academic credit:

There is a two-step registration process. You must complete both steps in order to fully and completely register for this course. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

  • Degree-seeking students currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota may not use our for-credit courses toward their degree program. Should a currently enrolled student choose to register for academic credit, the student may be subjected to additional University fees.
  • Degree-seeking students enrolled in schools other than the University of Minnesota wishing to use our course as an elective must directly seek prior approval from their degree program.
  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register online.
  3. Complete and submit the Registration Request for Graduate Credit form. Complete the highlighted sections (e.g., do NOT register via OneStop; send your Grad Credit Request form to CEED, not the University. Questions? Contact Karen Anderson at Please submit the form as soon as possible. CEED will obtain the appropriate approval signatures and forward your form to One Stop Student Services.
  4. When the University processes your request form, you will receive a confirmation from One Stop Student Services ( with information regarding your student account and payment. You must activate your student account to make your payment.
  5. On the Friday before the session begins, you will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site.

Required Textbook

Please purchase the required textbook prior to the start of the session:

Koplow, L. (Ed.)(2007)(second edition). Unsmiling faces: How preschools can heal. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cynthia Croft, Instructor

Cynthia CroftCynthia Croft is Director of the Center for Inclusive Child Care at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota where she also serves as faculty in the College of Education. She is adjunct faculty at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and teaches for the Minnesota on-line Eager To Learn program. She has her M.A. in Education with Early Childhood Emphasis. She has authored The Six Keys: Strategies for Promoting Children's Mental Health in Early Childhood Programs and co-authored Children and Challenging Behavior: Making Inclusion Work with Deborah Hewitt. In addition, she has edited two children's books series, Helping Youth with Mental, Physical, & Social Challenges for Mason Crest Publishers.

Cindy teaches CEED's online course Bridging Education and Mental Health.

Christopher Watson, Instructor

Christopher WatsonDr. Watson focuses on professional development, particularly reflective supervision, to support practitioners working with young children and their families. Dr. Watson was director of the Minnesota Infant Mental Health Project and conducted the Minnesota Infant Mental Health Feasibility Study, interagency initiatives funded by the State Departments of Education, Health and Human Services. Dr. Watson holds Level 4 Endorsement in Infant Mental Health (IMH-E®[IV]) from the Minnesota Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and is a certified Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC) trainer. He has co-written training-of-trainer curricula, including PITC as a Curriculum, Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Brain Development and Violence Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood. In addition, he has developed face-to-face online training courses for early childhood professionals, including Supporting Stressed Young Children Through Relationship-Based Teaching and Bridging Education and Mental Health (BEAM). The BEAM training and coaching frameworkcombines behavioral and therapeutic approaches to addressing early childhood social-emotional development, mental health and challenging behaviors. Dr. Watson and Martha Farrel Erickson, Ph.D. co-founded the interdisciplinary, post-baccalaureate Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his work at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Watson was director of the California Education Innovation Institute, a statewide training program for educators and administrators based at California State University Sacramento.

Christopher teaches CEED's online course Bridging Education and Mental Health.

Testimonials from Participants

"Thanks! Wow! Good ideas to try in my practice."

"I did have a great success with BEAM material today. The child that hits stopped hitting as she had access to the open-ended snack. As this happened, she also made friends with [another child that] does not have other friends, so this was a bonus that we hadn't anticipated to occur."

"Myself and my two staff in the Preschool Room have really learned a lot from this class and have already seen changes in behaviors as we redesigned our classroom and added auditory cues for transitions, etc. I would highly recommend this class for everyone."

Related Resources

Upcoming Sessions

  • Summer 2017: June 5 to August 7, 2017
  • Fall 2017: September 18 to November 20, 2017 (for clock hours only)


Contact Karen Anderson, CEED Online Course Manager, at or 612-625-6617.

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
Last modified on February 21, 2013.