The Elementary Guidance Assistant Program is a school-wide program designed to cover social-emotional learning for students in their classroom during their school day. The program uses an evidence-based social-emotional curriculum called Second Step. Second Step is designed to teach children how to understand and manage their emotions, control their reactions, be aware of others’ feelings, and have the skills to problem solve and make responsible decisions. It is lead by a trained facilitator in the classroom using videos, games, worksheets, class challenges, puppets, and parental involvement.
There are four units within our Second Step curriculum: Skills for Learning, Empathy, Emotion Management, and Problem Solving.
- Skills for Learning help to empower our students with strategies to focus and to be better listeners. This unit also works to help students to be assertive and to respectfully ask for help. Students focus on developing a growth mindset and learning that the brain grows the more you practice.
- The Empathy unit helps students to understand that all feelings are natural, even when they are uncomfortable. It helps students to be able to understand the feelings of others by looking at different perspectives and to show compassion by saying kind words or doing something helpful.
- Emotion Management helps students to understand and manage their feelings. This unit helped students to understand that ignoring negative emotions can lead to bad behavior and consequences. It also helps to provide students with the tools to deescalate emotions and show their feeling in socially acceptable ways.
- The last unit is Problem Solving which helps students navigate the complex world of interpersonal relationships. Students are empowered to solve their own problems with a variety of behavioral tools and to take responsibility for their own actions and make amends.
Students that participate in the Second Step program often show higher academic achievement as they are able to self-regulate and ask for help. They are also more connected to their school and help to maintain a safe and respectful school climate.