Elementary Schools Program

Elementary Schools Program

The Wright Institute Elementary Schools Program is an effort to collaborate with Chabot Elementary and Thornhill Elementary, to provide social and emotional support to children in these schools. The Wright Institute engages in these partnerships with the goal of fostering academic achievement and life success through provision of culturally competent, evidence-based psychological services to the school community. This includes clinical services to children and their families, supports for teachers in the classroom, bullying and violence prevention, engagement with community partners to meet children's needs, promotion of positive school climate and other activities as appropriate.

By providing our services at the school site, we are not only able to address the full caregiving environment (parents, teachers, after-school staff, etc.), but are positioned to collaborate with other community members to create a network of care with the school at its center. Addressing the needs of children requires creativity and partnership, and the WIESP is engaged in the effort to understand and attend to the emotional and social needs of children in their school communities

Play therapy provides an ideal venue for the child to enter into a safe relationship with a caring grown-up who is responsive to the child's emotional needs. Through playful engagement with a therapist, the child learns that their thoughts, feelings, and wishes are welcome in the therapeutic relationship, and that the therapist will make every effort to understand the child's unique communications and needs.


This program is free to the elementary school students receiving services.

Program Director:
Pooja Sharma, Psy.D. psharma@wi.edu

Director of Clinical Services
Deanna van Ligten, Psy.D. dvanligten@wi.edu