Day Treatment Overview (Under 12)
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Day Treatment Overview (Under 12)

The Day Treatment Program – Under 12 Stream is a therapeutic service for children and youth between 6 – 11 years of age who are experiencing significant emotional, social, and/or behavioural difficulties that are making it difficult to be successful in their home school setting despite other supports and interventions.

These difficulties may include externalizing behaviours (e.g. aggression, defiance) and mental health concerns (anxiety, mood, impact of trauma or attachment disruption). The program combines a supportive school environment with therapeutic and skill-teaching activities designed to foster healthy development and the attainment of treatment goals.

285 Benjamin Rd Waterloo office
285 Benjamin Road, Waterloo

Program Goals

  • Help children gain greater ability to regulate their behaviours and emotions, to feel engaged in school, and be successful in a school setting
  • Engage the child, family/caregivers and home school personnel in achieving identified goal

Location, Hours, and Length of Program

The Day Treatment program operates out of Lutherwood’s Children’s Mental Health Centre at 285 Benjamin Road in Waterloo. Transportation to and from the program is provided via taxi service and coordinated by program staff.

The program runs from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. It does not run on holidays or Professional Development Days.

The length of the program varies and is based upon the child’s individual needs and treatment goals. The Day Treatment team works collaboratively with staff from the child’s home school to help the child successfully transition back upon discharge from the program.

School Day and Classroom Structure

The Day Treatment program follows the nutrition break schedule. School day activities vary and include academic work, physical activity, social-emotional skill development, indoor and outdoor recreation, aquatic programming, supported chances to socialize with peers and practice skills and mental health treatment appropriate to the child’s developmental stage and individual needs.

Each classroom has a low staff to student ratio with one Teacher and one Child and Youth Counsellor in each classroom with up to 8 children. This ensures children are supported through guided activities to help them practice the skills and strategies they are learning.

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Lutherwood's Outdoor Playground

Treatment Model

The Day Treatment program has been designed using best practices and evidence-based treatment approaches for children under 12 in day treatment settings.


Social-Emotional Skills Development:

  • The PATHS Program (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) is an evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum designed to be taught in a school setting
  • Skills teaching groups and individual coaching for children may also include other relevant elements found to have positive outcomes in children such as Mindfulness

Caregiver engagement

  • The program draws on research clearly demonstrating that interventions for children have more positive outcomes when caregivers are involved
  • Caregivers will be engaged in the program through involvement in treatment planning, ongoing communication and information sharing with program staff, and attendance at parent groups aimed at helping parents support their child at home with the skills being learned at school

Teacher and Staff Approach

  • Teachers and staff will use developmentally appropriate techniques from evidence-based approaches for supporting and working with children with mental health or behavioural struggles, including CPS (Collaborative and Proactive Solutions, also known as Collaborative Problem Solving); DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy); Trauma-Informed approaches
  • The classroom and daily program structure will also include elements drawn from evidence-based models including Responsive Classroom and Tribes

Clinical Supports

  • An individual treatment plan will be developed for each child to identify their unique strengths and areas of need based on prior and ongoing assessments
  • The program is supported by an interdisciplinary team including: Teachers, Child and Youth Counsellors, Intensive Family Support Worker, Clinician, Psychologist, Nurse Therapist, Music Therapist, Recreation Coordinator, Program Supervisor, Clinical Supervisor, Program Manager
Guiding Principles

The Day Treatment Program is grounded in guiding principles that focus on genuine respect for all persons and service excellence, including:

• The importance of positive, genuine relationships
• The fundamental need of all to feel safe, valued and worthwhile
• The recognition that all people are resilient, have strengths, and the capacity to grow
• The importance of understanding the meaning underlying behaviour
• The importance of Purpose and Goal Direction
• The necessity of a validating, compassionate, and safe environment to foster learning

Lutherwood fosters a culture that respects, appreciates and values diversity. We recognize that diversity factors such as culture, race, gender, religion, socioeconomic issues, and gender identity, among others, can significantly impact aspects of mental health and development, as well as engagement with services. These diversity factors are considered as an important part of each individualized assessment and treatment plan.