Bronxville Elementary School psychologists Dr. Samantha Lewis, Dr. Minu Thomas and Dr. Joyce Vastola presented at the New York Association of School Psychologists’ annual conference, with the theme of “Building Bridges and Making Connections.” Held virtually on Oct. 22-24, the event brought together school psychologists from across the state.
During the conference, Drs. Lewis, Thomas and Vastola shared their work around how they’ve developed and implemented the C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Relationships, Empathy) program at the elementary school. Through the C.A.R.E. program, they’ve been teaching mindfulness skills and empowering students with the necessary skills to tolerate distress, regulate emotions and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults. The curriculum also integrates social comprehension lessons.
“We wanted to share the unique program we have developed in Bronxville that targets social-emotional learning using a curriculum that teaches Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills and lessons about identity, equity, inclusion and diversity,” Dr. Vastola said. “We also discussed how we adapted our program to virtual learning and highlighted our collaborative work with parents and teachers.”
The New York State Education Department mandates that all elementary schools provide a program that teaches social-emotional learning, along with social justice standard.
“Our goal was to demonstrate that a program like ours could be implemented and effective with students, teachers and parents,” Dr. Vastola said.