Social Decision Making / Problem Solving Program

Elementary SELect Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving program covers approximately 30 topics each year designed to develop self-control, social awareness, and effective decision-making skills. The program contains separate sets of lessons each year for kindergarten through eighth grade. Sessions follow a structure that includes an introduction to the topic, modeling of the skill, opportunities for practice, reflection and discussion, and suggestions for practice beyond the structured lesson. Also included are tips for teachers to support effective pedagogy and instructional practices to promote social and emotional learning, as well as strategies for integrating new skills and concepts into core academic subject areas. The program provides frequent take-home activities and supplementary books for parents on the importance of social and emotional development. The program manual includes a section for frequently asked questions that address cultural relevance. Occasional suggestions for remaining sensitive to and aware of various cultures and ethnicities are included throughout the lessons. Initial training for the program typically lasts one to three days and is not required. The Social Decision Making/Problem Solving program offers a train-the-trainer system to support sustainability.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Social Decision Making/Problem Solving has been evaluated in two small (e.g., n=158) quasi-experimental studies. Students were followed over a period of five to six years.

Elias, M. J., Gara, M. A., Schuyler, T. F., Branden-Muller, L. R., & Sayette, M. A. (1991). The promotion of social competence: Longitudinal study of a preventive school-based program. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61(3), 409-417.
Elias, M. J., Gara, M., Ubriaco, M., & Rothbaum, P. A. (1986). Impact of a preventive social problem solving intervention on children’s coping with middle-school stressors. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14(3), 259-275.