PATHS (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies)

Preschool & Elementary SELect Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

The Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) program promotes peaceful conflict resolution, emotion regulation, empathy, and responsible decision making. PATHS is designed for use in prekindergarten through sixth grade, with separate sets of lessons for first through fourth grade and combined sets of lessons for use in preschool and kindergarten and in fifth and sixth grade. Each lesson is scripted, beginning with an introduction that states background and goals, implementation guidelines, suggestions for engaging parents, a list of common questions and answers, supplementary activities (some of which connect to academics), and/or family handouts. Each lesson ends with reminders and suggestions for generalizing learned skills beyond the lesson to the classroom. PATHS lessons incorporate a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Parent letters and informational handouts are available in English and Spanish. Initial training for the PATHS program typically lasts two days and is not required. PATHS offers a train-the-trainer system to support sustainability.

Evidence of Effectiveness

PATHS has been evaluated in multiple, large (e.g., n=2,397) randomized control trials in grades PreK-5 (one quasi-experimental, four RCTs). Evaluations have followed students for up to three years.

Domitrovich, C.E., Cortes, R., & Greenberg, M.T. (2007). Improving young children’s social and emotional competence: A randomized trial of the preschool PATHS curriculum. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 67-91.
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: I. The high-risk sample. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 631-647.
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track Prevention Trial for Conduct Problems II: Classroom Effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 648-657.
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2010). The effects of a multiyear universal social-emotional learning program: The role of student and school characteristics. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 156-168.
Greenberg, M.T. & Kusché, C.A. (1998). Preventive intervention for school-age deaf children: The PATHS curriculum. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 49-63.

Kam, C., Greenberg, M. T., & Kusché, C. A. (2004). Sustained effects of the PATHS curriculum on the social and psychological adjustment of children in special education. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12, 66-78.