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Second Step Elementary School Program

Program Description

Second Step–Elementary is a universal, classroom-based program for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, which is designed to increase school success and decrease problem behaviors by promoting social–emotional competence and self-regulation. The Second Step program consists of a skills-focused, social–emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that emphasizes skills that strengthen students’ ability to learn, have empathy, manage emotions, and solve problems.

There are separate curricula for each grade to enable teachers to deliver instruction that is developmentally appropriate and relevant for their students. Each grade level curriculum includes a total of 22 lessons (23 in Kindergarten) that are organized across four units: 1) Skills for Learning, 2) Empathy, 3) Emotion Management, and 4) Problem Solving. The four units cover a range of skills and behaviors such as being respectful learners, planning to learn, identifying others’ feelings, showing compassion, making friends, and managing disappointment. Teachers implement the lessons as part of their normal classroom activities once per week, and each lesson takes roughly 20–40 minutes, depending on grade level. The Second Step–Elementary program consists of these classroom lessons, as well as skills review, brief daily practice activities, reinforcement, and home links.

Implementation of the Second Step–Elementary program includes scripted lesson cards; posters that outline learned skills; DVDs that illustrate particular skills; brain-builder games designed to increase executive function skills; and a teacher’s binder that includes additional content for teaching and reinforcing skills, skills for learning cards, and home links for families.

Program Snapshot
Evidence Ratings
Disruptive Behavior Disorders and Symptoms
Internalizing Problems
Attention Disorders and Symptoms
Social Connectedness
Social Competence
Program Contact
Tia Kim, Ph.D.
Director of Programs, Partnerships and Research

Committee for Children
2815 2nd Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98121


Dissemination/Implementation Contact
Juliet Kandel
Implementation and Partnerships Manager

Committee for Children
2815 2nd Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98121


Program Type
Mental health promotion


6-12 (Childhood)

Geographic Locations
Rural and/or frontier

School / Classroom

American Indian or Alaska Native
Asian or Pacific Islander
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino

Implementation materials available
Dissemination materials available