• Overview

    If you know a child who appears to be having challenges in the classroom, Primary Project may be the solution.

       Primary Project is a national evidence-based program that helps children in pre-k through third grade adjust to school, gain confidence, social skills, and focus on learning. Through play, Primary Project addresses children’s school adjustment difficulties and increases their chances for success.

    Begun in 1957, Primary Project is the foundational program of Children’s Institute. It has helped countless children since then, and continues to grow throughout New York and the nation. It identifies young children who show emerging school adjustment difficulties and provides them with one-on-one time with a specially trained and supervised paraprofessional.


    • Teachers and parents of pre-k through third grade children who may be experiencing school adjustment challenges


    • Detect school adjustment difficulties early
    • Children develop a school-based, trusting relationship with an adult
    • Reduce social, emotional, and school adjustment difficulties
    • Enhance learning skills


    • Reduces negative adjustment behaviors
    • Improves children's self-confidence, social skills, learning skills, and other school-related competencies
    • Allows school mental health professionals to focus on children who need more intensive interventions

    How It Works:

    • Early screening detects school adjustment difficulties
    • Children meet weekly with highly trained and supervised paraprofessionals (called child associates) in a playroom setting
    • The child sets the pace with the child associate supporting and reflecting on what the child says and does to reinforce and build on the child’s strengths
    • Ongoing consultation and program evaluation allows for continuous improvement


    What happens in Primary Project

      A highly trained adult, called a child associate, meets with each child individually for 30 minutes once a week over 12-15 weeks. A trusting relationship builds while helping the child gain skills in decision making, tolerating frustration, taking appropriate risks, making discoveries, and solving problems creatively. These skills are practiced and learned through the natural way young children learn, express, and communicate - through play.                                            

      Child associates receive ongoing training and supervision by experienced school professionals. Parents are encouraged to contact their childs' teacher, school mental health professional, or principal to learn more about this successful program.

    Benefits to your child

      The first years of school are critical. Between 15-30% of young children find it difficult to adjust to the demands of school. Primary Project can help overcome adjustment difficulties before they become entrenched. Early interventions helps students succeed in he school setting. This success makes children more willing to try new experiences and to navigate the tasks involved in learning. early school success leads to success throughout a lifetime.


      References: Chiadmin. “Primary Project.” Children's Institute, 27 Nov. 2017, www.childrensinstitute.net/programs/primary-project.