News stories about bullying often involve middle school or even high school students and the question often arises, “when does bullying begin?”. But is that really when these negative behaviors start? Research indicates that the answer is “no,” which is why a new bullying prevention program released this month features skill lessons that start in kindergarten.

The program, titled Second Step Bullying Prevention Unit, was created by Committee for Children, a global nonprofit well known for their research-based social-emotional learning materials. The group launched the program in response to new research that shows social-emotional learning to be an effective part of bullying prevention.

VOCABULARY 180Dr. Susan Swearer, Professor of School Psychology at University of Nebraska and Co-Director of the Bullying Research Network, collaborated on the unit’s creation and appears in its online training for adults. “The ideal approach is to prevent bullying and cruel behavior from occurring in the first place,” says Dr. Swearer. “That’s why the Second Step Bullying Prevention Unit’s innovation of teaching children as young as kindergarten–and the adults who work with them–to behave in
positive, healthy ways is so effective.”

The new unit is founded on a strong evidence base and combines all the best practices in bullying prevention, beginning with its interactive,
online training for staff that allows multiple opportunities for skill practice. The adult training not only prepares staff to help with bullying problems, it also supports collaboration with families and enables schools to comply with the requirements of state anti-bullying laws. Media-rich lessons for children help kids learn to recognize,
report, and refuse bullying, empowering them to have a stake in their school’s improved climate.

“We’ve learned that experiences during the early school years set the scene for ongoing peer relationships and academic achievement,” says Joan Cole Duffell, Committee for Children’s Executive Director. “So a comprehensive, research-based approach to bullying prevention that starts in early elementary and involves everyone in the school community–children and adults alike–is much more likely to help make schools safe, productive places where children learn and thrive.”

About Committee for Children
Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children is the world’s leading provider of educational programs for preschool through Grade 8 that teach social and emotional skills to prevent bullying and violence and promote academic achievement. Today, Committee for Children is helping more than 9 million students in 25,000 schools in 70 countries around the globe make friends, respect themselves and others, succeed in school today, and build a better world tomorrow.

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