What is Second Step curriculum and why does it matter?
Some of you may be familiar with the early learning curriculum called Second Step. For some of you, this may be your first time hearing about it.
When you register your child for preschool there is usually a packet of information or online access to documents such as: daily schedule, information about the school, staff bios, an overview about our programs, etc. What you may not always notice are those little logos usually seen on the bottom of the fold on a webpage (way wayyy down on the bottom) or printed in small font on promotional folders. Though they are not often discussed during registration, they actually hold great importance. One of those tiny but very important logos is Second Step.
What do we need to know?
Second Step is an important curriculum which focuses on the social and emotional development of students who are transitioning into Kindergarten....so, all our our preschoolers. At the heart of school curriculum lies our beloved mathematics, science, art, music, physical education, reading and writing which are part of an ongoing curriculum that our children practice every day. While these subjects are the very core of what our students will continue to learn over the next several years, we must not forget the importance of teaching and learning about the social and emotional skills that allow us to excel in life.
The skills with Second Step are focused on empathy, emotion management, friendship and problem solving and though it may seem trivial...learning how to learn.
Why is this important?
When students enter kindergarten with self-regulation and social-emotional skills taught with this program, they are set up for success. This program is designed to keep children engaged through the use of handheld puppets, activities and books!
So, how is this applied in the classroom? Every week there is a new theme. For example, Same or Different Feelings. For each day of the school week, there is a story, a discussion, skill practice activity or a book that relates directly to the theme. Time is built into the program each day to discuss the social-emotional. Children are involved and encouraged to participate.
How does this affect my child? Each and every day, our students are engaging in activities such as using scripts and puppets to discuss the theme of the week. The puppets are reintroduced most days and used during story time and discussion for recognition and recall.
How does this affect you, the caregiver? Each week, parents should all receive a printout with information regarding the Second Step theme of the week. Here, you have access to information that you can use at home to engage in conversation with your child. The printout offers suggestions for games to play at home and covers the basic topics of the story your student read in class. There are questions to follow that will help your child recall what they learned! This doesn't require much time and can be a good conversation starter in the car or during bedtime routine. Why do these themes matter? Let's take "same or different feelings" for example. In early childhood, children begin to recognize that people can feel and think different things about the same situation. This skill is an important part of social perspective taking. Without this understanding, children would not consider the existence of any perspective other than their own.
These lessons are invaluable to our students. Teaching young ones how to be self aware but considerate of others, teaching self control through channeling our energy and last but not least, teaching how to problem solve instead of relying on others to solve their problems.
Here at Premiere, we are grateful to house a group of very qualified, energetic and passionate teachers who spend time every day growing our children where it counts! Not only do our teachers engage the students in the classroom, but they get to watch our students live out these skills during lunch, recess, and free play. Someone one said, play is the highest form of research. Please don't hesitate to ask us more about the curriculum or if you are researching preschools, ask what type of social-emotional program they follow.
Questions or comments about Second Step? Just ask!