Committee for Children

Second Step Project




Primarily United States, but also Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Turkey, and other countries

Grade Level of Students Participating

Pre-K through Grade 8

Number of Students Participating per Year

Second Step reaches more than 10.5 million children each year and is used in about 22% of U.S. elementary and middle schools.

Year Organization Began


Relationship to the public education system

Committee for Children develops classroom-based social-emotional learning curricula that are implemented in U.S. schools.

Organization’s Vision and Mission

Vision: “Safe children thriving in a peaceful world.”

Mission: “To foster the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development.”

Brief Description of Program Activities

Second Step is a social-emotional learning program for teachers to implement in the classroom.

Length of Program: Curricula are grade-specific and range from 13 to 27 weeks. Lessons range from 5-7 minutes for early childhood to 50-60 minutes for middle school.

Program Implementation: Implementing the program involves teaching weekly Second Step lessons, reinforcing social-emotional skills throughout the school day, and, in elementary school, implementing a daily activity to practice new skills.

Program Capacity Building: While the curricula is written to be self-explanatory, for those who take advantage of additional capacity building resources, Second Step’s offerings include:

  1. A toolkit for facilitators for the early childhood curriculum;
  2. Online, individualized training for the elementary school curriculum; and
  3. Video-based training for groups of teachers for the middle school curriculum.

Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies

The program helps students to develop their skills in self-regulation, including identifying and managing emotions and controlling impulses. The middle school curriculum also focuses on preventing substance abuse.

Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies

The program helps students develop their abilities to empathize with others, communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and resolve conflicts. The middle school curriculum also focuses on bullying prevention.

Program Content: Cognitive Competencies

The program helps students to develop their problem solving and decision-making skills.

Program Content: Attitudes and Values

The program teaches respect for others and appreciation of differences.

Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students

Lesson plans gives students opportunities to practice social and emotional skills and to participate in group discussions. The curriculum also includes interactive components such as stories, songs, and games. Direct instruction and videos are used to model skills for students.

Additional Notes

Organizations in other countries, including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, and Turkey, have partnered with Committee for Children to translate, adapt, and distribute the Second Step curriculum. Adaption focuses on creating new, contextually relevant stories and images. Committee for Children reviews changes to ensure fidelity to the original curriculum.

Reference List

1All the information in this table comes from and from a phone conversation with the organization's director of programs, partnerships, and research on May 16, 2016.

Prepared by

Anastasia Aguiar