The LIFE/Incredible Years (IY) Program

Description of service provided:

The LIFE Program is a school-based prevention program that provides goal-oriented mental health services to elementary aged students. This program was created by Dickinson Center, Inc. in order to address barriers to learning at the elementary level. Program facilitators work with guardians, students, and teachers to conduct an assessment, identify needs, and develop a support plan for each individual student. Services may be provided individually, within the classroom, and within groups, based on the needs of the student. As needed crisis intervention is also included for enrolled students during school hours.

LIFE support services include: coping (grief & loss, family separation, anxiety, etc.), relationship and social skills, academic organization and study skills, anger management, self-esteem, problem solving, and any other concern that may be affecting a child’s education.

Facilitators can also be made available to support faculty and students following any traumatic school-wide event which can include grief and loss services and/or postvention education. All services provided are confidential.

LIFE facilitators utilize the Incredible Years (IY) Curriculum to facilitate classroom lessons for students in kindergarten through second grade.

Dina the Dinosaur and other life-size puppets, are used in conjunction with dinosaur-themed materials to engage children and teach them about following classroom rules, safety, and feelings expression. Children are taught skills that include understanding and detecting feelings, mindfulness, anger management, and self-esteem.

The Incredible years is an evidence-based program; research has shown that facilitation in young children decreases risky behaviors later in life such as delinquency, violence, and substance abuse.

This summer kindergarten readiness program (KRP) is facilitated within our local schools in order to help all incoming students successfully transition to kindergarten. Students are able to meet classmates and become familiar with their new school and the dynamics of learning in a classroom. Facilitators utilize the Incredible Years curriculum, crafts, music and games in order to promote necessary skills for kindergarten. These include: listening skills; cooperation with peers and adults; communication skills; following rules and directions; socialization skills; letter, number and sound recognition; fine and gross motor skills; and name writing.

Geographical area of service:

Dickinson Center, Inc. LIFE & IY services are offered through most elementary schools within the Elk and Cameron County school districts.

  • Elk County Catholic Elementary School – Elk County School System
  • Fox Township Elementary School – St. Marys Area School District
  • Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School – Ridgway Area School District
  • Johnsonburg Elementary School – Johnsonburg Area School District
  • South St. Marys Street Elementary School – St. Marys Area School District
  • Woodland Elementary School – Cameron County School District 

The LIFE & IY Kindergarten Readiness Program is facilitated within the following schools:

  • Fox Township Elementary School – St. Marys Area School District
  • Johnsonburg Elementary School – Johnsonburg Area School District
  • South St. Marys Street Elementary School – St. Marys Area School District

Admission and Service Access:

Referrals can be made to LIFE & IY services by a parent, teacher, or administrator who has concerns about a student. Referrals can be made through the school counselor’s office, the school administrator, or directly to the program facilitator. The student’s school must receive permission from a legal guardian before services can be provided. Students may be referred to the program because they are experiencing an academic, behavioral and/or emotional difficulty that is making it difficult for them to succeed in school; there is no admission criteria. 

Address and hours of operation:

Dickinson Center, Inc.
Children’s Prevention Services
4 Erie Avenue, Suite 302
St. Marys, PA 15857

Sierra Himes, Director of Children’s Prevention & Assessment Services
Phone: 814.834.2602
8:00am – 4:00pm.

The LIFE & IY services are typically available during the regular school year. KRP occurs for 6 weeks during the summer.

How consumers pay for service:

The LIFE/IY Program is offered at no charge to students who attend schools that choose to participate in the program. It is funded through our local Cameron/Elk Behavioral and Developmental Programs, the participating school districts, and other outside grants.