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Mary Anne Peabody - Nominated by Lynn Smith

15 April 2020 |

In her home state of Maine, Mary Anne Peabody became aware of Primary Project (Healthy Learners Initiative) as a school social worker and provided leadership and supervision for the program at Woodside Elementary School. She met Debbie Johnson at an informational meeting and after several years began to support the program throughout Maine and became a co-trainer for schools in her home state. Mary Anne is described as a “playful” trainer weaving in activities and themes to teach, support, and strengthen both supervisors and child associates child-centered play skills.  

Mary Anne has served in various roles at Children’s Institute including Director of Training, Director of Primary Project, and prior to her departure as Deputy Director of National Services. A participant and contributor to Children’s Institute’s leadership team, Mary Anne worked to further the mission of the agency “equipping those who work with children to ensure the success of every child.” During her leadership in Primary Project she was instrumental in developing the Primary Project Best Practices rubric, a document used to assess the implementation of Primary Project. She co-authored three editions of the Primary Program Development Manual, produced the Primary Project Basic Skills and Supervision DVD’sm and edited From the Playroom, a newsletter that is distributed nationally. Her reach at Children’s Institute extended beyond Primary Project as she co-authored Same Sky Sharing a small group intervention to help children with a parent in the military cope with deployment. She has provided training for a variety of broader social and emotional training efforts throughout the United States and Canada and has served as President of the National Association for Play Therapy.

Currently, Mary Anne is the Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Science at University of Southern Maine. She continues to stay connected to the work of Primary Project and her colleagues at Children’s Institute. She participates in a collaborative research group consisting of Primary Project partners from Massachusetts and Arkansas focused on furthering research efforts and publications related to Primary Project. Since this group has formed, Mary Anne has been the lead author on two published articles. The first a qualitative study examining how graduate students and faculty supervisors at William James College in Massachusetts perceived their experiences with Primary Project and how their experience may or may not align with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) competency domains. The other titled “Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Young Children through the Implementation of the Primary Project” describes the history, current state, and future implications of Primary Project. The article discusses children’s mental heads needs and the role of the school in addressing these needs.

Children’s Institute is grateful to have been home to Mary Anne and her contributions continue to expand our reach to equip and support those who work to improve the success of children. 

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