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How Does Footprints for Life Set Your Child Up for Success?

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Even the youngest children will have to deal with conflicts — with family, peers, and online. How they react matters, and forming healthy solutions takes skills kids may not figure out on their own.

With this in mind, Wellspring Center for Prevention developed Footprints for Life, a research-based prevention education program that gives elementary school children what they need to manage social and emotional challenges. Here's how Footprints for Life sets your child up for success. 

What does Footprints for Life teach?

Footprints for Life teaches children how to express their emotions and work through difficult situations. Instead of relying on avoidance messages, Footprints focuses on adding positive behaviors and attitudes to a child's social-emotional "toolbox" that will give them the self-awareness and self-confidence to resist their first use of drugs or alcohol.

Footprints takes tough conversations and makes them approachable and exciting through a cast of animal puppet "peers." Second and third grade soccer teammates — Betsy Beaver, Sarina Fox, Pete Porcupine, Ricardo Raccoon — each bring their unique "footprint" to lessons, sharing their stories related to family, sportsmanship, and drug use.

As children listen to and learn with the characters, they recognize relatable challenges — like managing anger, figuring out compromise, and fitting in — and practice useful communication strategies (like "I" messages) and guided problem-solving techniques.

How does Footprints for Life involve families and teachers?

Footprints for Life is a six-week program that engages the most important support systems in a child's life.

Here's how Footprints for Life involves families and teachers:

Parents and guardians

To improve the outcomes of Footprints classroom activities, parents and guardians are encouraged to participate in the learning process through weekly homework assignments. As children review situations with Footprints worksheets, family members can guide their children through important ideas and open space for meaningful conversation. By serving as the bridge between characters' resolutions and families' lived experiences, parents and guardians can help their children understand the value of the Footprints program.

Parents and guardians are also encouraged to reinforce the language, attitudes, and problem-solving skills uncovered in the classroom at home. This will help children understand that the strategies from Footprints are strategies for life — not just for the classroom.

Teachers

Teachers who have been involved in the Footprints program enjoy the convenience of its Glossary of Terms and the ability to return to character scenarios and learning activities year-round — because the concepts are always relevant.

One of the greatest gains from Footprints is its effective communication practices. By learning how to identify feelings and express them, children can recognize their own needs. To bolster this, teachers should provide opportunities for students to practice Footprints' healthy expression techniques through writing, discussions, and creative prompts.

Footprints for Life brings peaceful solutions to the classroom, too. When conflicts arise, teachers can use learned strategies (like SOLUTION STOPLIGHT) to model how to work through difficult situations to arrive at something everyone can agree on.

To learn more about Footprints for Life and how it can help your child or students, visit our website. Our program is evidence-based and specifically designed to build the social skills children need for a successful, healthy life.
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