Top 10 things for Primary Project teams to consider before the end of the year
- Model “healthy goodbyes” for students. Decide how you will prepare students for their time coming to an end in the playroom and be consistent, e.g. marking weeks off on a calendar. Plan ahead, as this typically begins when there are about four sessions remaining.
- Take time as a team to reflect back on the year. Discuss highlights (what went well) and challenges (what can be done better or differently).
- Retrieve from COMET your evaluation reports for the measures that your program completes: Teacher-Child Rating Scale (T-CRS), Associate Child Rating Scale (ACRS), Child Log (CLOG), and Professional Summary Report (PSR). Review them and discuss what you see–create a story from your data!
- Share with your building principal program highlights and areas that you plan to improve upon next year. This is an opportunity to gain administrative support for those things that you want to improve upon (i.e. playroom space, playroom items, support around screening, timeline for the year, data collection, etc.).
- Communicate your Primary Project data/evaluation reports with stakeholders. Share results with your building administration and teachers. Who else should see it in your district? Determine the best way to present the information. Remember your consultant is available to you to help interpret the data and discuss your ideas.
- Begin to map out a timeline for next year. You can begin to think about screening and selection timelines for the grades you serve.
- Take inventory in your playroom. What has been the most popular? What hasn’t been played with at all? What do you need or would you like for your playroom? In the words of Garry Landreth, “toys should be selected–not collected.” The end of the year is a great time to do some cleaning!
- Identify skills that you would like to improve upon or training related to Primary Project that you would like to receive next year. Feel free to share your ideas with Shelley or Lynn. If you are anticipating NEW Primary Project child associates or a new school-based mental health professional, training dates are available on our website. Register early to reserve your spot!
- NYS schools should be on the lookout for an important survey in May. We use aggregate information from your responses for NYS reporting.
- Take time to celebrate the work that you do in Primary Project and your accomplishments–supporting students through the year is tough work. Be playful!
Bringing the lessons home... “I’m bored!”
Between the school day and after school activities, a large portion of children’s time is managed and scheduled. Summer can bring a more relaxed pace, during which parents often hear from their child(ren), “I’m bored!”
Boredom can be essential for children because it may lead to increased creativity and helps your child to problem solve and grow. When a child is bored, they are learning to create their own fun, and it allows for an opportunity to find what interests them and what they are passionate about. It is important to realize that when a child says, “I’m bored,” it’s not that they’ve run out of things to do, it’s just that what they see in front of them isn’t interesting, or may be a signal that they desire some engagement with an adult. Taking some time to play outside, ride bikes, or bake cookies together may be enough to recharge their batteries and they can take it from there.
Consider activities ahead of time, before summer arrives, and create a boredom jar. Work with your child(ren) to come up with several activities that they enjoy. Write the activities on a slip of paper and place them in a jar. Next time your child tells you, “I’m bored,” have them dive into the jar for a slip of paper! Here are some “starter” ideas:
- Read a book
- Play catch
- Walk the dog
- Play a game outside
- Clean and re-organize your room
- Make an obstacle course
- Collect and paint rocks
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Make a fort
- Climb trees
Ann M. Farie: Remembering a treasured friend
–JOANNE PEDRO-CARROLL, PH.D.
Our community grieves the loss of Ann Farie, ACSW, who passed away on February 14, 2019. Ann was widely known for her work as Chief Social Worker with Primary Project for 27 years, a gifted therapist, and an advocate for the mental health needs of children and adults.
Ann worked for many years as a trusted clinical and program consultant for Primary Project and trainer and supervisor of child associates. She was known and respected for her ability to listen with empathy and insight. In 1988, Ann was recognized with the Social Worker of the Year award for her work with Primary Project, AIDS Rochester, Children’s Psychiatric Center, and her psychotherapy practice.
Together with Lynne Mijangos, Ann developed a supervision manual that provided in depth guidance on the important process of collaborative relationships in supervision. She co-authored a publication with Emory Cowen and Marion Smith, The development and implementation of a rural consortium program to provide early, preventive school mental health services, which described Primary Project’s outreach to schools in New York State.
Ann was well known for her interpersonal warmth and caring that characterized her interactions. Her love of life and people often shone through in so many inspiring ways. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s reflections on death convey the loss we feel.
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it...and thus helps us preserve–even in pain–the authentic relationship…the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”
–Bonhoeffer, D. (1951). Letters and papers from prison.
We grieve the loss of Ann’s caring presence in our lives. Yet we’re comforted by her memory and grateful for the model she gave us of a life well lived. Many people walk in and out of our lives. We cherish those, like Ann, who leave a loving imprint on our hearts. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
May 6, 2019 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day