Tier 1 – Universal/SEL and Primary Prevention
Primary prevention, also called “asset building,” “universal promotion,” “positive youth development,” and “character education,” is designed to reach every student/parent/teacher in a developmentally appropriate way. It focuses on building core social-emotional abilities and pro-social values that are positively correlated with safe and supportive school environments. The core abilities (personal strengths that Ripple Effects calls “Five Keys”) include self-efficacy (self-understanding), self control (management of emotions, controlling impulses), problem solving, being aware of others (empathy) and skills and values for connecting to others (empathy). These last skills are personal communication and group participation skills; the values are those needed for a diverse and democratic society to flourish: honesty, fairness, responsibility, respect, etc.
These abilities are protective for all students. In fact, they are protective for all people of all ages. Though culturally mediated, they are important across cultures. They can often preempt and protect against negative behavior before it arises. They enable a resilient response when unexpected trauma occurs. They are also positively correlated with success in the classroom – for teachers as well as students.