What Kids are Learning in the Behavior Development Program By: Emily Buell, CTRS Program Coordinator

Mar 07, 2013 by Emily Buell

Over the past months, I’m sure you’ve all read about the Behavior Development Program, a program working with kids ages 7-12 with behavioral and disruptive problems to teach children social-emotional skills.  The program is six-weeks long and staff teaches kids and parents skills that will help them to function better.  Well, that’s great!  But, you may wonder, what are these skills?  What do social emotional skills mean?  If I send a child to the Behavior Development Program, what exactly are they learning?

Our program curriculum is compiled into three modules.  Children may start at the beginning of a module.  This module approach allows us to have increased accessibility to families in need.  Each of the modules has a focus for parents and children.

Module 1: Child Focus: Empathy

Parent Focus: Behavior

Module 2: Child Focus: Emotion

Parent Focus: Emotion

Module 3: Child Focus: Social

Parent Focus: Social

I’m going to focus on what the skill building looks like during module 1, where the child focus is empathy and the parent focus is behavior.  In this module, staff facilitates learning around empathetic behaviors and topics.  These behaviors and topics are taught from our Second Step© skills lesson and are integrated into our recreational activities, therapeutic activities, and parent-child activities.  For example, just the other day, we had a lesson on Identifying Other’s Feelings, where staff assisted children in understanding feelings and various emotions, as well as recognizing that others may have different feelings than that child.  During our recreational activities, we empower children to practice what they are learning, whether that is recognizing a peers’ feelings or practicing assertion and telling a peer how they feel about a situation.  Therapeutic activities might encourage children to identify their own emotions or work on problem-solving through creating a skit with peers.

I have explained only a small portion of what BDP entails, but if you’d like to know more, I would be happy to explain the program further.  I can be contacted at 952.826.8415 or  We currently have future openings in both our Edina and our Maple Grove locations.

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