FAST Elementary school level

FAST® – Elementary School Level reaches children ages 4-10, with the aim of reducing critical barriers to success they may encounter during their initial introduction to school.

In a FAST Cycle, families meet for 8 weeks, followed by 2 years of monthly FASTWORKS® meetings. The weekly sessions follow a prescribed format of activities with demonstrated effectiveness. Each evening begins with parents and children participating in activities as a family unit. This builds cohesiveness and provides opportunities for parents to strengthen their role in the family hierarchy. Parents and children then participate in separate peer activities to build social capital and relationships within their communities. Next, a parent and target child (the FAST Child) come together to engage in focused one-to-one play time. The evening concludes with activities that bring all the families together and reinforces reciprocity and ritual.

FAST Sessions are led by a team that empowers parents and connects families to school and community. This collaborative team is culturally and ethnically representative of the families participating in the program, and it includes:

  • For the first FAST Cycle, one (1) Parent Partner whose child is not currently participating in FAST, but attends the school in which FAST is being held. For FAST Programs that have completed one or more 8-week FAST Cycles, this role is replaced by FAST Graduate Parents;
  • One (1) School Partner, ideally a classroom teacher for the targeted student population, but could include a school psychologist, school secretary, school librarian, etc.; and
  • Two (2) Community Partners who are knowledgeable about local community resources, at least one of whom has expertise in mental health and emotional well-being or substance abuse prevention.