Behavior plan helps kindergartner adjust to school

“Michael”, a 5-year-old kindergartner at an Indianapolis Catholic elementary school, was having trouble adapting to school life. He acted out by hitting and throwing things at his classmates, shouting in class, getting out of his seat without permission and had difficulty following directions. His teacher referred his parents to the School Social Work program at United Way supported Catholic Charities Indianapolis.

Staff, who provide professional counseling services for Catholic school children, worked together with Michael’s teacher and his parents to develop a behavior plan. The plan’s goal was to build Michael’s understanding of classroom and school behavior expectations while identifying incentives he could earn by behaving appropriately.

Throughout each school day, Michael and his teacher would each rate his behaviors on a scale of 1 to 3. If their ratings matched, Michael would receive points towards earning incentives. Those incentives included extra time using the classroom I-Pad, picking a treat from the classroom treat bucket or choosing an activity to share with the class. Michael’s parents also worked with him to identify a larger incentive (a new game) to be earned outside of school.

Michael also met one-on-one with the counselor to explore ways to use coping skills to express and manage his emotions, build problem-solving skills and to discuss peer and social interactions. The counselor met with Michael four times during the first semester and met with his parents three times. She also had regular consultations with his teacher.

During the first eight weeks of school, Michael had eight conduct reports for behavior issues. During the second eight weeks, he only had two. By the third quarter, he had none. Approaching Michael’s behavior as a team and including input from his parents, his teacher and Michael himself allowed Michael to build confidence and a clear understanding of expected behaviors. Michael now enjoys school and is making friends. His parents report they are also seeing positive improvements in his behavior at home.


Note: United Way brings together compassionate people committed to improving lives in our community. We help Central Indiana residents achieve and maintain self-sufficiency by directing resources toward four key areas of community impact – Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs. Catholic Charities Indianapolis. is one of over 90 United Way funded agencies working to address one or more of these priorities. Since 1923, UWCI has invested nearly $31.2 million in support of their efforts to address a wide array of needs of the poor and vulnerable. The agency’s current Community Fund allocation is $454,426.