Teaching children how to think through social problems: The PATHS Program

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The Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) program, developed in Seattle in 2000, promotes social competence, emotion literacy and regulation, and interpersonal problem solving skills. Developers recommend that the PATHS program be taught in about 30 minutes a day, two or more times a week. The curriculum is grade-specific, with classroom kits for PreK/Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grades 5/6. Each kit includes scripted lessons for the classroom, supplementary activities, as well as information and activities for parents. Different cultural and ethnic groups are incorporated into the lessons.

Research has shown that students who participate in the PATHS program show improvements in academic, social and emotional skill performance, reduced conduct problems and emotional distress, and improved school climate. Furthermore, PATHS is recognized by CASEL as a “SELect” program, by Canadian Best Practices Portal as a “best practice” program, and by Blueprints as a “model” program.