Second Step: Early Learning Curriculum

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Program description

Second Step: Early Learning Curriculum, offered by the Committee for Children, provides a lesson-based approach to SEL. It includes programming for preK and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness in preK. Programming for grades k-8 are also available from Second Step. Translated materials for Second Step: Early Learning Curriculum are available in Spanish.

      • SEL lessons
      • Positive classroom management
      • SEL generalization
      • Shared agreements
      • Systemic support for SEL
      • Activities and Resources for Home
    • Onsite in-person training
    • Virtual training
    • Offsite training
    • Train the trainer model
    • Administrator support
    • Coaching
    • Technical assistance
    • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
    • Online resource library
    • Self-report tools for monitoring implementation
    • Observational tools
    • Tools for measuring student success

Evidence of effectiveness

Results from a randomized control trial published (RCT) in 2017 supported the effectiveness of Second Step Early Learning (SSEL) for pre-school students. This evaluation included 492 students in many public and private child care programs in the Northeast (white = 47%, Hispanic = 39%, Black = 26%). This evaluation found that pre-kindergarten students who participated in the program experienced significantly greater increases in executive functioning skills (i.e., task required inhibitory control, attention, and working memory) compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 36 weeks after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest).

  • Evidence shown in grades
    School characteristics
      • Northeast
    Student characteristics
    • Black / African American
    • Hispanic / Latinx
    • White
    • Low income
    Percentage Low Income
    • Enrolled in Headstart: 100%
    • Improved academic performance
    • Reduced emotional distress
    • Improved identity development and agency
    • Reduced problem behaviors
    • Improved school climate
    • Improved school connectedness
    • Improved social behaviors
    • Improved teaching practices
    • Improved other SEL skills and attitudes

How does Second Step support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“The Second Step family of SEL programs help transform schools into supportive and successful learning environments uniquely equipped to help children thrive. ​ It offers a holistic approach to SEL, one that contributes to a more empathetic society by providing families, school-based educators, out-of-school-time professionals, and the larger community.”

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  • Accepted by CASEL
  • Upshur, C. C., Heyman, M., & Wenz-Gross, M. (2017). Efficacy trial of the Second Step Early Learning (SSEL) curriculum: Preliminary outcomes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 50, 15-25.

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