Give Your Head Start Students the Tools for Success

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Evidence-based Second Step SEL for Early Learning brings social-emotional learning (SEL) to your Head Start classroom.

  • Preschoolers develop lasting executive-function and self-regulation skills by learning how to focus attention and manage emotions
  • In multi-age classrooms, the program allows four- and five-year olds to take the lead and help younger learners excel
  • Fun Weekly Themes, Brain Builders, puppets, and songs help prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn

Success in Action

Watch these videos to learn more about Second Step SEL in Head Start classrooms.

Head Start Alignments

Second Step SEL aligns with Head Start performance standards by encouraging self-control, respect, language use, problem solving, family activities, social-emotional skills, and more. See all Second Step alignment information.

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Head Start Alignment
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CLASS Alignment
Research Based

We take great pride in the fact that Second Step is based on current research in the field. Get a closer look at the research we incorporate into all aspects of Second Step.

See the Early Learning Review of Research (PDF)

Second Step SEL Increases Executive-Function Skills

A recent study shows that children receiving the Second Step SEL for Early Learning had significantly better end-of-preschool executive function skills, including working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility, than students who didn’t receive the program.

Read the Study (PDF)

Executive Function: Skills for a Lifetime

Second Step SEL for Early Learning has been shown to improve young students’ executive-function skills—like attention, memory, and self-control—which are not only predictive of Kindergarten readiness but are essential for success in and outside the classroom.

Second Step Social-Emotional Learning

Second Step Early Learning kit

It’s easy to use the Second Step classroom kit. Each kit includes:

  • 28 durable 11” x 17” color photo Weekly Theme cards
  • Teaching Materials Notebook
  • Join In and Sing CD
  • 3 colorful posters
  • 2 high-quality puppets (Boy & Girl)
  • 4 Listening Rules Cards
  • 1 set of Feeling Cards
  • Take-Home Activities and Family Letters
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What's in a Kit?

See what’s included in our Second Step SEL for Early Learning classroom kits.

Online content includes:

  • Weekly Themes and family materials in Spanish
  • Planning, teaching, and assessment tools
  • Staff-Training Toolkit
  • Online access to stream lesson photos and songs in English and Spanish

Weekly Themes

Skills and concepts are taught through short, daily activities that take 5–7 minutes each, with little or no preparation time needed.

  • UNIT 1
    Skills for Learning
    • Welcoming
    • Listening
    • Focusing Attention
    • Self-Talk
    • Following Directions
    • Asking for What You Need or Want
  • UNIT 2
    • Identifying Feelings (happy, sad)
    • More Feelings (surprised, scared)
    • Identifying Anger
    • Same or Different Feelings
    • Accidents
    • Caring and Helping
  • UNIT 3
    Emotion Management
    • We Feel Feelings in Our Bodies (worried)
    • Strong Feelings (frustrated)
    • Naming Feelings
    • Managing Disappointment
    • Managing Anger
    • Managing Waiting
  • UNIT 4
    Friendship Skills and Problem Solving
    • Fair Ways to Play (play together, trade, take turns)
    • Having Fun with Friends
    • Inviting to Play
    • Joining In with Play
    • Saying the Problem
    • Thinking of Solutions
    • Speaking Up Assertively
  • UNIT 5
    Transitioning to Kindergarten
    • Learning in Kindergarten
    • Riding the Kindergarten Bus
    • Making New Friends in Kindergarten
  • SEL Early Learning-Grade 8

Program Samples

Take a closer look at Second Step SEL for Early Learning.

Comprehensive Staff Training

The Early Learning SEL staff training is recently revised to be more engaging and easier to use. Download Sample Staff Training Slides (PPTX). Staff training is available with product registration and includes:

  • EL kick off meeings

    Two new versions of the Kick-Off Meeting—one for groups, one for individuals

  • EL Engaging Videos

    Engaging videos on social-emotional learning, problem behaviors, executive function, and self-regulation

  • El Infographic like handouts

    Infographic-like handouts that reinforce key concepts

An opposing pair of yellow quotation marks.
The Brain Builder games really do help the children develop their executive-function skills. Especially their inhibitory control, because I can tell that they’re able to stop themselves and they’re able to wait.

Karen Virta, Classroom Teacher, Everett Community College Early Learning Center, Everett, WA


We offer live and recorded webinars so that you can hear from our experts about our programs and ask us questions.

teacher with students
Second Step SEL for Early Learning

Creating a Foundation for Learning
Watch Now | 54 minutes

Second Step Child Protection Unit

Working Together to Keep Kids Safe
Watch Now | 30 minutes

team-teaching classroom
I Have a Second Step Kit, Now What?

Get Started with Early Learning–Grade 8
Watch Now | 70 minutes

See More Webinars

Second Step Social Success Series

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See all our Second Step products for Early Learning.

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Second Step Early Learning kit

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