Primary Project

From the Playroom newsletter

January 2020

Child associate feedback at Boys Town of South Florida

Primary Project at Boys Town South Florida (BTSFL) has been an integral part of the school year for over 15 years. Our child associates have been instrumental in ensuring that young children coming to school for the first time have a safe place to land. With increasing demands on teachers, child associates can meet a need for children who require support to make a successful adjustment to school. 

To assess both program quality and staff satisfaction, BTSFL conducted interviews with all staff. Through this process, child associates were asked to provide feedback regarding their views of the program, the organization, their supervisor, and their personal development. The feedback received was instrumental in creating the plan for the program going forward. 

Child associates at BTSFL have a very extended tenure, with some associates meeting a milestone in 2019 of over 10 years of service to children through Primary Project. Without exception, all child associates felt that their job was not only fulfilling but also that they enjoyed the opportunity to give back to their community in support of children. Here are a few examples of the feedback received regarding their work:

  • This job is a blessing. I enjoy being able to help children by connecting with them and allowing them a place where they are in control. It is a way for me to give back to the community. –Child associate, Barton Elementary School
  • I love helping children find their voice in the playroom. Over the course of the program, I see children transform and that is very rewarding.”   –Child associate, Highland Elementary School
  • I enjoy seeing the kids every day. I am a part of the school and I have kids that I have seen grow up here. I feel good about the work I am doing here.  –Child associate, Freedom Shores Elementary School
  • I wish we could reach more kids. I feel like what I do makes a difference and I would like the program to be available to more grades and more schools. I would like to be able to help more students. –Child associate, Lantana Elementary
  • I love my job. I have been involved with my school since my children attended here. I love that I am able to give back to my community and support the adjustment of kids to school.  –Child associate, Golden Grove Elementary School.             


The overarching sentiment among our child associates was that of joy and gratitude that a program such as Primary Project exists to allow them the opportunity to provide children a safe place to play and explore. BTSFL is lucky to have this dedicated group of professionals who are focused on our youngest citizens and are invested in seeing them thrive. Through the generous support of the Palm Beach County Children’s Services Council, we can bring this valuable program to students in our district. We are fortunate to have this partnership that allows us to help children that might otherwise slip through the cracks. 

–Claudine Bolivar, MS, Ed.S., NCC, Senior Director Program Operations at Boys Town


Bringing the lessons home - Setting New Year's resolutions

A new year brings with it enthusiasm and renewed energy for doing things differently. We often think about setting goals or resolutions for ourselves, however as parents and caregivers, we are busy taking care of others in our families. Try setting some New Year’s resolutions as a family. They could be fun, playful, and benefit everyone! Following are some ideas to consider in 2020:

  • Unplug and connect with each other: Set one day a week when your family does not connect to any devices (phones, tablets, gaming systems, etc.). Instead, spend the day enjoying time outdoors (hiking, sledding, etc.), or if you would rather stay indoors, perhaps playing board/card games. Seek out other ideas from your family members.
  • Eat well: Take the time to plan family meals. This could include grocery shopping and having your children help in the kitchen. Putting groceries away, rinsing fruits and vegetables, reading recipes, and setting the table are a few examples of ways they can help and feel included.
  • Exercise: Family activities that get you moving have many benefits. Playing outside in the snow or sand (depending on where you live), an indoor dance party, or simply going for a walk or a bike ride after dinner are healthy and fun for everyone.  
  • Read more: A trip to your local library is a great way to get your family started with new books to read in the new year!
  • Being kind: As parents, we model kindness for our children and we could all use a little more kindness and compassion in the new year. Opening doors, giving a compliment, or being helpful in your community by volunteering are sure to brighten someone’s day.
  • Sleep more: While school breaks and holidays can be fun, they also can be tiring and throw off schedules. Getting back into a routine of consistent bedtimes and ensuring that your children are getting enough sleep is important to staying healthy!

Advocating for Primary Project

Recently, the Primary Project team at Council Rock Primary School (CRPS) in Brighton, NY highlighted Primary Project to NYS representatives in their district. The team shared an overview of Primary Project and highlighted outcomes for students that have participated. Additionally, a parent was invited to explain how Primary Project was helpful to their child. We would like to encourage all of our NYS schools to extend an invitation to the representatives in their districts. Let us know if you'd like to learn more about getting started and how we can support you!

Pictured L-R: Mark Henretta, Social Worker at CRPS, Ann Marie White, Executive Director, Children’s Institute, Senator Joe Robach, Shelley Sanyshyn, Children’s Institute, Lynn Smith, Children’s Institute, Matt Tappon, Principal at CRPS (not pictured Assemblywoman Jamie Romeo).

Executive Director Ann Marie White also joined many other local organizations in Albany advocating for the well-being of young children. We appreciate NYS’s support of Primary Project at Children’s Institute.

Pictured L-R: Jenn Beideman (Healthi Kids), Danette Campbell-Bell, Stephanie Fitzgerald (United Way of Greater Rochester), Gretchen Wolf (GreaterRochester Summer LearningAssociation), and Ann Marie White.


Reserve your copy today!

There are a limited number of copies of the book School Based Prevention for Children at Risk available at no charge to Primary Project schools. This book describes the history, rationale, implementation, and outcomes of the longest running prevention program. To secure your complimentary copy (one per school please), contact support [at] childrensinstitute.net (Customer Service) at (585) 295-1000, ext. 221.


Save the Date! Whole Child Connection Conference 2020

Are you looking for a learning and networking opportunity in the central New York region? Save the date for the Whole Child Connection Conference taking place in Fairport, NY next fall.

Keynote Speaker: Dena Simmons, Ed.D, Assistant Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Join us October 22-23, 2020