Program Goals/Target Population
Second Step®: A Violence Prevention Curriculum is a universal prevention program designed to reduce impulsive and aggressive behavior in children and adolescents by increasing their social competency skills. Students are taught to reduce impulsive, high-risk, and aggressive behaviors and increase their socioemotional competence and other protective factors.
The program is composed of three grade-specific curricula: preschool/kindergarten (Pre-K), elementary school (grades 1–5), and middle school (grades 6–8). The curricula are designed for teachers and other youth service providers to present in a classroom or other group setting. A parent education component, “A Family Guide to Second Step®” for Pre-K through grade 5, is also available.
The Second Step® elementary curriculum consists of 15 to 22 thirty-five-minute lessons per grade level taught once or twice a week. Group discussion, modeling, coaching, and practice are used to increase students’ social competence, risk assessment, decision-making ability, self-regulation, and positive goal setting. The program’s lesson content varies by grade level and is organized into three skill-building units covering the following:
- Empathy Training: teaches young people to identify and understand their emotions and those of others. Emotional understanding, prediction, and communication are taught as core skills.
- Impulse Control and Problem Solving: helps young people choose positive goals, reduce impulsiveness, and evaluate consequences of their behavior in terms of safety, fairness, and impact on others. Students repeatedly practice generating and evaluating solutions to social problems.
- Anger Management: enables youth people to manage emotional reactions and engage in decision making when they are highly aroused. Cognitive–behavioral techniques such as self-talk and attention control are emphasized in this unit.