School Psychologist Supports Children’s Social-Emotional Growth

Children’s learning and growth not only takes place on a cognitive level; in the early years, especially, children’s social-emotional development — learning about themselves and others, making friends, dealing with feelings, and developing empathy and kindness — is central, and a key focus at EWECC.

At the core of a social-emotional learning curriculum is helping each and every child grow and reach appropriate developmental milestones. Staff at the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center have developed assessments and action plans for each and every student, from our toddlers to our prekindergarteners,  tailored to providing the support for that growth.

Action plans have been shared and discussed with parents and other caregivers for a coordinated effort between home and school.

In early 2019, the Center received a $25,000 matching grant to hire a part-time school psychologist to support the social-emotional curriculum.

Sherri DuRussell, a graduate of SUNY Old Westbury who served previously as a school psychologist at Eastern Suffolk BOCES and at the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, will lead group activities for prekindergarten students, and will work in the toddler and 3-K classrooms alongside staff. 

Fund-raising is under way to match the grant so that the program may be carried out throughout the year.

Social-emotional growth and learning is also the focus of 2019’s first Parent Outreach meetings, on Feb. 11 and 13, with a program on the importance of teaching kindness, empathy, and acceptance.