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Voice Recognition

Primary Project

The Primary Project

Some young children have a difficult time adjusting to school.  That's understandable. New faces and surroundings, new expectations and new routines can sometimes make it hard for children to adapt.
The Primary Project program at Chenango Forks Elementary School is here to help. With over 60 years of success in over 1000 schools nationally and internationally, this research-based program helps children build the skills they need for school success.
Click on the link below for more information. 

Meet Our Staff

Erin Mulesky
Child Associate

Joelle Peltz
School Mental Health Professional
The child associate’s main responsibility is to create a trusting relationship with the child. They are expected to listen, attend and work with the children identified for participation in Primary Project. Child associates also form working relationships with the supervising school mental health professional and communicates with parents and teachers at the discretion of, and under the direction of, their program supervisors. Primary Project child associates are team players who work individually in the playroom with the children assigned to the program. They typically maintain a variety of program records. The school mental health professional provides regularly scheduled supervision and evaluation of the child associate. The child associate’s skills are supported and strengthened through ongoing training and supervision.

Mental Health Professionals are responsible for overseeing day-to-day project activities. They are generally school psychologists, social workers, or counselors whose primary responsibilities relate to supervision, training, and support of the child associate. The school mental health professional provides clinical supervision. These clinical skills can be redirected to work with the children most in need of more intensive interventions. As a result the impact of their work is expanded to include a larger number of children.  School mental health professionals also coordinate and supervise screening and selection of children for program participation.  In addition, they present Primary Project in public relationship arenas such as open house, parent orientation meetings, faculty or grade level meetings, or school board presentations.

Primary Project in the Community

Below is an email sent to our Primary Project staff that testifies to the positive impact of the Primary Project.

I had to share this as I found it to be such a beautiful example that even in the most restricted of environments, it is still possible to support students using the Primary Project way, even if it is virtual.  

I bet in 1957 this would have never have been considered a possible way to do just that......making positive connections with students using the power of relationships, trust and technology!  
I had the pleasure of speaking to one of our Primary Project "family" members in the Binghamton area of NYS today.  She has been meeting with students virtually for Primary Project sessions this school year given the circumstances of the global pandemic.  She is pictured here in her playroom at the school.  Yes, I did obtain verbal permission to share her picture:-)  

Note, she was terrified to even meet with students virtually this year for fear of how challenging it would be outside of the physical playroom space at the building.  I am happy to report she communicated her awe in how successful these sessions have been thus far.

As we talked there were so many wonderful things she shared about the work Primary Project has been able to engage in to support students at Chenango Forks Elementary School.  I knew I had to snap a picture so that I would be able to put a face with a story so that you could see a piece of our work in action, even in these trying times,  this work still matters.
Their program started the school year with picking right back where they left off prior to the closure of schools.  Erin is seeing all 9 students virtually this year and will be screening students in K and 1st grade for consideration into the 2nd cycle of programming in the spring.  
The start to the program was far different than it usually had been, surprise, surprise!  

The team put together plastic bins with an array of expressive items and delivered to each student's home that Erin would be meeting with.  Erin explained she had her doubts about whether the items selected would go over well,  be used, help or hinder their weekly times together.  

Again, she was pleasantly surprised to share how well these bins have been received by the children she meets with.  While some may have little interest in the contents of the bin and prefer to keep busy in their own way,  some absolutely love the fact that Erin has the exact same bin of items on her side of the computer.  These children lead the way and tell her what to do with what, and how to do it.  Erin remains true to keeping sessions as child led as possible.  When she cannot see what the child is working at on the other side, but clearly sees their facial expressions, hears them talking, making noises, etc. she is able to use her skills of reflection, "I see you are working really hard at that.  You are concentrating so much on what you are working on.  You are proud of what you made".
I have to believe that we will have the chance to hear many more positive stories of how Primary Project was able to help make a difference in children's lives, even in a pandemic.
I hope that this little gem of a story just from an hour Zoom today I was fortunate to have warms your heart, even if it's just for a brief period until we have another story to share.
Your fellow CI colleague,
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