Lourie Center program helps struggling toddlers succeed at home and in the classroom

When Jennifer and Mathew Goodman’s 3-year-old son, Eli, had a difficult time focusing in preschool and interacting with other children, they felt frustrated and helpless. Eli was hyperactive, withdrawn from other toddlers and emotionally disconnected from his family.

“Simple things such as sitting down for dinner as a family became a challenge because Eli struggled to control his impulses,” Jennifer says.

Determined to find a program that could help her son, Jennifer searched the Internet and found the Therapeutic Nursery Program (TNP) at the Lourie Center for Children’s Social & Emotional Wellness.

The TNP is a specialized preschool that helps children ages 3 to 5 with emotional and behavioral problems that interfere with success in mainstream preschool or day care.

At age 3, Eli struggled to focus in school and stay connected at home. His parents, Jennifer and Mathew Goodman, took him to the Therapeutic Nursery Program at the Lourie Center. Today, Eli, now 8, is thriving.

“The program helps foster social, intellectual and emotional growth in children by helping them build secure and trusting relationships with their parents, teachers and peers,” says Jimmy Venza, PhD, senior director of clinical operations and research at the Lourie Center. The goal is to help children successfully transition to mainstream preschool or day care.

The TNP staff worked with Eli to establish trust and to help him feel safe in the classroom. Through structured learning and therapeutic play, he learned to understand his emotions and control his behavior.

“After only a few months in the program, we saw noticeable improvements in Eli’s behavior,” Mathew says. “He gained confidence and was able to express his feelings in a much healthier way.”

Eli, now 8, is thriving at school and at home. “The Therapeutic Nursery Program helped Eli feel emotionally safe and secure in a classroom environment,” Jennifer adds. “He is now making friends, reading at grade level, and flourishing in the second grade.”