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PreSchool and Middle School Students Working Together To Nurture Positive Social Behavior

27 May 2010 admin 2,098 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

preschool2School should be a place where kids feel safe and can learn. Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum helps preschoolers learn and practice social-emotional skills. The Second Step Anti-Violence Curriculum, taught weekly by St. Margaret’s sixth graders, helps children learn to read body language, work together and solve problems. Research tells us that children who learn and use these skills are more likely to get along with other people and to do better in school.

Though the steps taught are not significantly different to the techniques we’ve been teaching for years, Second Step is taught universally, to all children—not just those involved in ‘playground squabbles’. When the Middle School adopted the middle school version of the same curriculum, Jeannine Clarke, Middle School Principal and I thought that we’d get the two groups together.

The Second Step middle school program is a universal, classroom-based prevention program designed to decrease aggression, bullying, and substance abuse and increase students’ social skills and school success. As a program for all students, it provides a foundation for creating a safe, respectful learning environment.

preschool1In a unique approach that creates new learning opportunities made possible by our preschool through grade 12 model, St. Margaret’s Middle School students visit the Preschool classrooms to teach the Second Step preschool curriculum. Both the older and younger students connect with the material in new ways. The older children experience the material as teachers and leaders, while the younger students enjoy having the “big kids” spend time with them and learn the important lessons from these role models.

It’s a Preschool-Middle School Partnership!

Here’s what some preschoolers had to say about the program:

What is the best part of the Second Step Program?

“The best part is the soft bunny…He helps us stay quiet.” (talking about “Be Calm Bunny”) and we learn words like “frustrated.”


What have you learned to do when you’re angry?

“Take a belly breath and count to 4.”


How can you tell if someone is mad?

“By their face. Their eyes are scrunched up and their bottom lip is pinching out”


“And they have their hands on their hips”


“They have a mean voice”


How can you tell if someone is sad?

“They are looking down”


“And their eyes are crying”


How can you tell if someone is happy?

“They have shining eyes and a big smile.”


Here’s what our Middle School students said of the experience:


“It was fun to be with the little kids They were very good listeners. They seemed to be so calm.”


“They learned a lot about strong feelings. Things they can apply.”


“Sixth graders have problems more advanced, but they are the same problems.”


“They were good problem solvers and they picked up things quickly.”


“It’s nice that they learn it at this age, so if there’s not a teacher around, they can solve problems themselves.”

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