There is a significant need to provide intervention services not only to students who exhibit sustained disruptive behaviors in the classroom, failing grades, and/or significant attendance issues but also to address the emotional needs of diverse elementary students who are “at risk” prior to exhibiting such issues so they may be successful in the academic environment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the academic skills of second-grade students who received child-centered play therapy (CCPT) services using the Primary Project (formerly the Primary Mental Health Project) protocol. Sixty-eight students from 1 elementary school in second grade were assessed in the areas of task orientation, behavior control, assertiveness, and peer social skills. Of those who were tested, 36 students were deemed at risk using the established qualifying criteria and received CCPT services, and 32 students did not qualify for services. Findings revealed a significant increase in 3 academic subject areas: reading, mathematics, and language usage, with qualifying students experiencing marginally greater improvements during the academic year in mathematics and language usage when compared to their peers who did not qualify for services. Results of this study highlight the importance of providing preventive services that support overall mental health and wellness to at-risk children.
Identify the core components and core objectives of Primary Project.
Identify connections between CCPT and academic achievement.
Identify the benefits of CCPT services for the students participating in this study.