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First Friends Social Skills Program

Building meaningful Connections

First Friends is a social skills program for children ages three to six who need help with joining play, establising and maintaining friendships, and participating in group activities.

The morning program, led by the Lucy Daniels School’s Early School director and a pediatric occupational therapist, meets once per week over a period of 8 weeks. In each session, children have opportunities to participate in a range of social experiences, from cooperative play to group activities, with a focus on the social and emotional skills necessary for joining and being a member of a group. The program includes a parent orientation session prior to the start of the social skills group and parent participation in some of the sessions, depending on the social and emotional needs of the child. Parents may request an optional school observation of their child in his/her current school or group setting. A complimentary occupational therapy screening is included as a part of the First Friends program. 

The First Friends group meets on Fridays at Pediatric Therapy Associates, 1120 SE Cary Parkway- Suite 200, Cary, NC 27518, from 9:00 am-10:30 am. The fee is $250.00 for eight weeks.

Sample Schedule

9:00-9:30 am: Arrival and play activities

9:30-9:35 am: Clean-up and transition to group time

9:35-9:50 am: Group activity (e.g., story time, circle time, group games)

9:50-10:05 am: Art or fine motor activity

10:05-10:15 am: Snack

10:15-10:20 am: Clean-up

10:20-10:30 am: Closing circle and goodbyes

Areas of Focus

Helping those who are shy or nervous around teachers and/or peers

Developing flexibility in social interactions, including playing cooperatively and sharing

Supporting the development of communication skills

Recognizing and respecting boundaries, personal space, and the feelings of others

 

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Individual Care

“There can be many reasons for a child’s difficulties in the area of their social development, specifically with joining peers in play and collaboration. In addition to providing children with a positive group experience, one of the goals of First Friends is to understand the various reasons a child is struggling socially so that he or she can be helped in a way that is personal and meaningful.”

~Jennifer Reid
Early School Director and First Friends Coordinator/Teacher

First Friends Leads

Jennifer Reid, MA

Jennifer Reid, MA

Early School Director and In-School Therapeutic Services Coordinator, Lucy Daniels School

Ms. Reid earned a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from New York University. She has been teaching and working with children since 2000. She joined the Lucy Daniels School in 2005 and has taught in their therapeutic preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school classrooms. She currently serves as a mentor for therapeutic teachers and coordinates the clinical and school services provided at the Lucy Daniels School therapeutic day school. Ms. Reid is also a part of the Lucy Daniels Center’s outreach program: she leads professional development workshops for teachers in the community; she observes children in early childhood settings throughout the Triangle and provides feedback and guidance to teachers to help support their students’ social and emotional development; and she writes articles for parents in publications such as Carolina Parent. Her areas of interest include therapeutic teaching and using a psycho-dynamic understanding of development to help children reach their highest potential as learners and members of a group.

Carly Kohler, MS, OTR/L

Carly Kohler, MS, OTR/L

Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Carly earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Occupation, and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA in 2015. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, Carly had the opportunity to complete clinical rotations in a variety of settings, including pediatric private practice, a day school and residential treatment center for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities, and in the hospital acute care and ICU units. She presented her graduate research regarding individuals’ engagement and participation in life activities after a cancer diagnosis at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in Chicago, IL in 2016. Carly began her career at a pediatric private practice in Northern Virginia, gaining knowledge and skills in the areas of sensory integration and the The Floortime Approach.  Carly has obtained specialty training and education in the use of Interactive Metronome, Therapeutic Listening, The Alert Program, The Floortime Approach, reflex integration, and Handwriting Without Tears.

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