Summer Intensive Treatment for 4-6 Year Old Children with Behavioral & Self-Regulation Issues

Capstone is a 5-week summer intensive treatment model pioneered by Drs. Steven Kurtz and Carly Mayer. Capstone was created to give young children with self-control difficulties a highly structured learning environment combined with specific coping strategies so they have the tools and confidence to manage their “big” emotional reactions. Capstone is a unique treatment program in how parents play a significant role within the summer program schedule. Parents are seen as the primary agents of change (and the best teachers!) to promote generalization of appropriate skills beyond the summer to the child’s real life home, school, and community settings.

Research shows the limits of simply hearing about strategies without the chance to practice them with a coach. Imagine learning to drive a car without first practicing with an expert or learning to do surgery without live coaching from an experienced mentor.  Capstone utilizes the PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy) model to provide parents with live coaching with their own child in classroom and play settings. Parents have the opportunity to learn from experts in that very moment, to guide their children to make the best choices in relation to behaviors and emotional reactions in real life academic and social situations. Children and families are given a full understanding of effective strategies and are provided with consistent clinician support to set themselves up for the most success going into the next school year.

Capstone is derived from decades of research on ideal classroom management techniques and best practices for parent training techniques from both PCIT and TCIT (Teacher-Child Interaction Training). Capstone is the very first program to offer this combined approach of classroom management, emotion regulation strategies, and live parent coaching within an organized group setting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Who is Capstone for? Children 4-6 years old who are entering Pre-K, Kindergarten, or 1st grade and who have difficulties with self-control, following adult directions, self-regulation, low frustration tolerance, handling “big feelings,” keeping appropriate body space from others, and getting along well with peers in classroom and play situations.
  • What is the behavioral approach Capstone uses to help kids? Capstone is a five-week intensive treatment program using positive behavioral supports in a summer classroom daycamp format to teach children how to follow adult directions, get along with peers, use good sportsmanship, stay on task, have good school readiness skills, and manage frustration tolerance in typical school and playground situations. The children will be in classroom and playground situations with teachers and counselors, under the direction of licensed clinical and school psychologists, and teachers, from 8:45am – 2:45pm Mondays through Fridays. Consistent positive reinforcement that shapes appropriate behavior, along with logical consequences for misbehavior, are key to improved functioning.
  • What is the parent component? Parents are heavily involved in the Capstone program through extensive parent training ahead of time and actually taking turns being in the classes and play situations as their child’s behavioral coach  in 45 minute shifts while being coached live by the behavior therapists using bug-in-ear technology to practice guiding their children successfully with best supportive techniques and discipline practices. The Capstone parent training skills come directly from the gold-standard treatment – Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) – which has decades of support showing significant gains that last across home and school settings.
  • Where is Capstone? The program will take place in a school setting in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
  • What are the dates? TBD post-pandemic
  • What is the cost?  The camp fee is $9000. Payment plans are available.
  • Is transportation provided? Transportation is not provided.
  • How do you apply? First, click here to request more information and to have an informational call with our team. Then, if you wish to proceed, you would have an in-person evaluation meeting with our team to see if Capstone is a good fit for your child and family.
  • Does my child need to have an IEP? We accept children in general and special education, so your child does not require either an IEP or a 504 Plan.
  • Will my school pay for Capstone? There is no direct mechanism at this time for the DOE to pay the treatment fees for Capstone.
  • Can Related Services Providers participate? Yes. We welcome the inclusion of your related services providers consistent with your IEP.
  • Who runs the program? Dr. Steven Kurtz is the Director of Kurtz Psychology. Dr. Carly Mayer is the Clinical Director of Capstone. She is a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist. Staff includes teachers and behavioral counselors in a ratio of approximately 1:2.
  • How will we get feedback? You will be provided with daily feedback about your child’s skills, progress, challenges, and revised goals.  You will also have a meeting with your child’s lead psychologist half-way through the program and at the end of the program.
  • What happens after the summer session?  How do we keep the gains going? We will work with your current therapists and schools to teach them what were the most successful strategies we used with your child and encourage and facilitate their use of the same skills. Booster skills sessions will be available on an as-needed basis.
  • How do you deal with food allergies and preferences? Many children these days have quite specific dietary needs. You will provide your child with a healthy lunch and snack each day. If we have any children with severe nut allergies, we will guide ourselves and other families accordingly.
  • How will my child get their medication? If your child has a need for medication during the day, you will provide a doctor’s note for us to administer. We will not have a nurse onsite during the program.
  • What is a typical day like? Capstone simulates a summer school day, with a great mix of academic and social activities. Click here to see a typical daily schedule.

The Science Behind Capstone

  • Scientists at Florida International University (FIU) and elsewhere have used this type of combined school and day camp model for decades with great success.
  • The older child version of this model, the Pelham Summer Treatment Program (STP),  was a main intervention in the MTA Study – the longest and largest behavioral intervention trial for children with ADHD and comorbid conditions such as anxiety. The STP is a nationally award-winning program.
  • Dr. Kurtz serves as a Global Trainer for PCIT International, a leading organization for empirically-supported parent training of disruptive behavior disorders. PCIT is a gold-standard program for treating behavioral problems in young children.
  • Teacher-Child Interaction Training (TCIT) has been shown to be very effective in giving teachers effective behavior management skills making the children more available for learning and making it so their behaviors don’t interfere with their own learning and the learning of others.  Dr. Kurtz and his team have been at the forefront of TCIT for children with special needs.
  • Research supporting the model has been presented at numerous professional conferences including the annual meetings of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), PCIT International, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • FIU has published articles on successful outcomes for their preschool version of the STP in peer-reviewed journals – the highest standard for research. Capstone incorporates many aspects of their program along with inspiration from other gold standard programs.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a white paper documenting the importance of including this specific type of live-coached, active parent training in effective interventions for young children with oppositional, defiant, and aggressive behaviors that emphasizes really high rates of positive, supportive and reinforcing positives along with a structured, calm protocol for assertive discipline.

To Get More Information:

  • Complete the Capstone request form below and a staff member will be in touch within one business day.
  • Contact the program’s Administrator, Shira Gould, directly at 212.658.0110 or via email at

To Become a Counselor: Visit our Training webpage.

Capstone Summer Program | Kurtz Psychology