Thesis Title

The California Primary Prevention Project a Therapeutic art and Play Program for Children Grades K-3 with Early or At Risk of School Adjustment Problems and Its Proposed Implemnetation at Nesbit School Belmont, California

Graduation Date

Spring 1987

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


This paper is concerned with the development of a California Primary Prevention Program (CPPP) for children, kindergarten through third grade, who are at risk or have early school adjustment problems at Nesbit School in Belmont, California. The State of California offers partial funding to schools interested in implementing a CPPP at their school sites.

The concept of primary prevention is introduced and its involvement in school-based programs discussed There is a high correlation between school adjustment problems and juvenile delinquency. Through prevention of early school adjustment problems, it is felt more severe problems can be alleviated.

Children are chosen to participate in the CPPP through a series of assessment and screening devices which consist of the AML Behavioral Rating Scale, T-CARS, a background of information form, the Draw-A- Person, and observations. When a child completes the program, the T-CARS and Draw-A-Person are administered


The program itself consists of a sixteen-week sequence of once a week therapeutic art-play sessions of one to one interactions between a specially trained non-professional child-aide and a child. Using a nondirective approach, the child-aide helps the child explore issues through art and play. Play is a child's work. Through play, children learn about themselves and their environment.

The CPPP is modeled after the Primary Mental Health Project (PMHP) which has had both short- and long-term validity studies that exemplify the program's effectiveness.

Nesbit feels strongly that the implementation of a CPPP will improve target children's ability to function better in their school environment.