B.E.S.T. (Basic Emotional Skills Training)
Teaching Kids to Care and Too Good for Violence
B.E.S.T. (formerly the Inner I Program) helps young children enter school ready to learn.  Children who develop healthy social and emotional skills have the tools they need to interact with peers, teachers and family members in a respectful, age-appropriate manner.  B.E.S.T. is a classroom-based program provided by our staff in two curriculum formats:
  • Teaching Kids to Care     
  • Too Good for Violence
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B.E.S.T. is independently evaluated by Buffalo State College’s Center for Health and Social Research who recently concluded, “Results support the program’s ability to demonstrate its positive impact on behavior at a young age.”


Teaching Kids to Care reaches children just beginning their school years. Primary grade level students eagerly participate in a series of interactive classroom lessons that help them develop skills needed to make and keep  friends, express feelings respectfully and behave more peacefully in the classroom.  To further enhance the benefits of the program, family and    teacher follow-up materials are provided.  When kids care for and about each other, there is no limit to what they can achieve!

This evidence based violence prevention program teaches at-risk children positive social interaction skills.  When young children learn how to deal with frustration, anger and disappointment in a healthy manner, they are better equipped to handle conflicts more appropriately.  The classroom sessions are filled  with active learning methods that foster retention of skills.  Our primary grade level students enjoy the use of story-telling, dolls, puppets, pantomime, songs and   role-play.  In fact, they have so much fun, they may not even realize that they are learning valuable skills that will be of lasting benefit academically and interpersonally!
Would you like B.E.S.T. in your school?  Contact Mary Lou Montanari
 Phone: 716-886-1242 x338 or Montanari@eriemha.org
Frequently Asked Questions:

Q - What school districts are eligible to participate in B.E.S.T.?

A - All public and private schools in Erie County.

Q - What grades do you generally work with?

A - Pre-K through Second Grade and Primary Special Education classes.

Q - How do you generally present your program?

A - The program is presented in individual classroom settings. This allows for discussion and  interaction among participants.

Q - Is B.E.S.T. available during the summer months?

A - Yes, we are available to do presentations at libraries, community centers and day camps.


999 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY

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