During the 2015-16 school year, United Against Violence provided Second Step social/emotional learning curriculum kits to several school and community-based pre-schools in Buffalo County. The kits include 28 weeks of lesson plans on subjects that include, listening skills, focusing attention, identifying one’s own emotions, showing care and concern for others, self-regulating strong emotions, and making and keeping friends. Children who learn these “soft” skills early can more easily resolve their own emotional and friendship issues themselves and devote their school time to learning. The kits are provided to educators free through a grant from the CHI Mission and Ministry Fund.
The educators who implement the curriculum were asked to respond to pre and post-tests with questions that pertain to their students’ social emotional skills before and after they engage in the Second Step lessons. Over 300 pre-school students were rated on the pre and post-tests.
The results of this testing are in and the changes are dramatic. On qualities like “Able to focus attention and follow directions often or very often” the teacher’s rating of student abilities went from 47.6% in the pre-test to 73.1% in the post-test; “Offers to help others often or very often” improved from 48.8% to 76.8% and “Shows age appropriate social/emotional development often or very often” went from 58.4% in the pre-test to 83.2% in the post-test. The tests evaluate 11 dimensions of social/emotional development and, in the words of our objective evaluator, “From pre to post, each one of these items improved significantly…”
The abilities to self-regulate our attention and emotions and work well with our classmates and teachers are powerful predictors of academic and social success in school and success in life. Children who learn and practice these skills early can take full advantage of them throughout their lives. The Buffalo County early childhood centers and teachers who are engaged in social/emotional learning are helping to make a positive and lasting difference in our future.
To find out how you can implement Second Step contact UAV@bcchp.org or call 308-865-2284