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Second Step

What Is Second Step?

second stepSecond Step is a program published by the Committee for Children. It is a social and emotional learning program for students in pre-K through eighth grade. The goal of the Second Step program is to help students be successful in school. The Second Step program teaches social skills and self-regulation. All MPS K–5 and K–8 schools teach Second Step to all students. 

Learn more about social and emotional learning.

Program Topics

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  Early Learning (K3/K4)

Skills for Learning: The goal of this unit is to build skills that help children learn. Students learn how to listen, focus their attention, use self-talk, and ask for help when they need it.

Empathy: The goal of this unit is to help children identify and understand feelings and be kind to others. Students learn to take another person's perspective and show care and concern for others.

Emotion Management: The goal of this unit is to help children know how they are feeling and calm down strong feelings. 

Friendship Skills and Problem Solving: There are two goals for this unit. The first is to help children learn to solve problems in safe ways. The second is to build skills that help children make and keep friends.

Transitioning to Kindergarten: There are two goals for this unit. The first is to practice Second Step skills that children have learned. The second is to help children understand that these skills will help them in kindergarten.

  Elementary (Kindergarten-Grade 5)

Skills for Learning: This unit builds students' foundational skills necessary for successful learning, including listening effectively, focusing attention, using self-talk, and being assertive.

Empathy: This unit builds students’ ability to have empathy for others, including identifying and understanding their own and others’ feelings, perspective taking, and showing compassion.

Emotion Management: This unit develops students’ ability to understand and recognize their own and others’ strong feelings and calm down strong feelings.

Problem Solving: This unit develops students’ ability to solve problems safely and respectfully and make and keep friends. 

  Middle School (Grades 6-8)

The goals of the Second Step middle school program are to decrease aggression, bullying, and substance abuse and increase students’ social skills and school success.

It has three distinct, developmentally appropriate levels, one for each middle school grade. Five main themes are interwoven through the lessons at each level:

  • Empathy and communication (all grades)
  • Bullying prevention (all grades)
  • Emotion management (all grades) and coping with stress (grades 7 and 8)
  • Problem solving (grade 6), decision making (grade 7), and goal setting (grade 8)
  • Substance abuse prevention (all grades)

How Can I Learn More?

Social and Emotional Learning in MPS

Committee for Children (publishers of Second Step)

Violence Prevention Program

6620 W. Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53216


Social and Emotional Learning Supervisor:

Kimberly Merath
Phone: 414-438-3593

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