• Information for Educators

    Helping educators reduce incidences of bullying and cyber-bullying, develop key social and emotional skills and increase focus on learning. For grades K-6.

Stepping On Up…

  • Is a unique and effective tool to reduce incidences of bullying and cyber bullying.
  • Instills a core set of character traits and values which will help student make good choices and develop a positive sense of self.
  • Builds the key social emotional skills students need to navigate the complicated transitions in upper elementary school and beyond.
  • Teaches empathy, interpersonal skills and problem-solving to make school more caring, inclusive and safer
  • Incorporates proven-effective strategies to reduce behavior problems and increase focus on learning.

Stepping On Up with Michael Pritchard is a research-based video guidance series that empowers elementary students to stop bullying, build character and develop the social and emotional skills they need to become responsible, caring and successful in school.  It contains 4 DVD programs each containing 4 lessons (16 lessons in all). Learn more from the Series Overview »

Stepping On Up was created and developed by leaders in youth education »

Created for grades K-6, the series prepares students for the emotional and social changes that take place in elementary school and the preteen years and provides a comprehensive set of essential skills in the areas of:

  • Bullying prevention
  • Web safety
  • Cyber bullying
  • Character development
  • Life skills

Problem-Solving Skills

Stepping On Up is based on the proven approaches and techniques of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and is centered on positive problem solving. Each interactive lesson is guided by a unique 6-step methodology designed to raise self- awareness and the ability to positively work through the common challenges of preteen life. By repeating and reinforcing these proven techniques throughout the course of its 16 lessons, Stepping On Up builds the persistence, confidence and optimism characteristic of resourceful, successful people.

The Stepping On Up Problem-Solving Steps:

1. Stop and calm down
2. Name the problem
3. Understand others
4. Brainstorm solutions
5. Evaluate and choose
6. Make a plan

Although each program has unique objectives, they all share the goal of providing students with the above important life skills. The Stepping On Up approach can help students think through difficult situations and make good choices.

Character Traits and Life Skills

Each Stepping On Up lesson develops valuable life skills and attributes such as:

  • Good character
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Problem solving
  • Self-control
  • Self-knowledge
  • Resiliency
  • Positive interpersonal skills
  • Resourcefulness
  • Perseverance
  • Optimism


Stepping On Up is an interactive video series which models and promotes research-based strategies. Video instruction is an effective instructional strategy for prevention education. Fifty-seven percent of public school teachers use video to demonstrate educational concepts to their students. The violence prevention strategies used in Stepping On Up are cited as effective by organizations such as the National Institute of Justice, the National Education Association (NEA), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and the comprehensive report issued by DRUG STRATEGIES, Safe Schools, Safe Students. Strategies demonstrating effectiveness in reducing youth violence include:

  • Using interactive methods such as peer discussion groups
  • Enhancing protective factors such as creating strong interpersonal bonds
  • Raising student awareness
  • Creating a climate of ownership and school pride
  • Emphasizing personal responsibility
  • Implementing peer counseling and peer mediation programs
  • Fostering school norms against bullying, aggression and violence
  • Encouraging thinking, social, and resistance skills education for students
  • Instituting school-wide communication campaigns to influence school norms about violence
  • Building empathy and perspective taking, social problem solving, communication, and character/belief development

Why SEL?

The use of direct teaching and development of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in middle childhood addresses the precise emotional deficits that result from the onset of significant media exposure and use during these critical years of childhood development, namely: increased aggression, reduced empathy and attention deficit issues. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), co-founded by Stepping On Up scientific consultant Maurice Elias, identifies five key area of skill development that inform the teaching and approach of the series program:

  • Self-awareness: accurately assessing one’s feelings, interests, values, and strengths; maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence;
  • Self-management: regulating one’s emotions to handle stress, controlling impulses, and persevering in addressing challenges; expressing emotions appropriately; and setting and monitoring progress toward personal and academic goals;
  • Social awareness: being able to take the perspective of and empathize with others; recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; and recognizing and making best use of family, school, and community resources;
  • Relationship skills: establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting inappropriate social pressure; preventing, managing, and resolving interpersonal conflict; and seeking help when needed; and
  • Responsible decision making: making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; and contributing to the well-being of one’s school and community.

A review by CASEL of SEL programs across the country produced these results:

  • Students in SEL programs demonstrated improvement in multiple areas of their personal, social, and academic lives. SEL programs fostered positive effects on: students’ social-emotional skills; attitudes towards self, school, and others; social behaviors; conduct problems; emotional distress; and academic performance. Notably, SEL programming yielded an average gain on achievement test scores of 11 to 17 percentile points.
  • SEL interventions were effective in both the school and after-school setting and for students with and without presenting problems. They were also successful across the K-8 grade range, for schools in urban, suburban, and rural areas, and for racially and ethnically diverse student bodies. Studies that collected data at follow-up indicated these effects remained over time— although they were not as strong as the results at post (immediately after the intervention).
  • Data from the Universal and Indicated Reviews also indicated that SEL programs were effective when conducted by school staff, suggesting that these interventions can be incorporated into routine educational practice.

With well-developed social and emotional skills, students will be more aware of their feelings and more capable of managing them. They will be better able to set goals, make decisions, solve problems, and relate to other people effectively. In school, these skills can increase motivation, lessen anxiety, improve study skills, and boost academic achievement.

How to Use Stepping On Up

Stepping On Up is designed for use in classrooms, community centers, youth organizations, camps, libraries, or with children at home.

Find full lesson plans, presentation instructions and other supplementary materials for teachers, parents, guardians, administrators, youth advocates, community leaders and other concerned adults here »

Check out all our classroom activities; download complete scripts for classroom segments and put on your own puppet shows. We show you how, step-by-step »

Clip of the Month

Each month we will stream a complete segment from one of our lessons along with sample discussion questions for the program. Check out our Clip-of-the-Month »

Win Free Programs

We are pleased to announce that because of the generous support of Our Funders, we will be giving away sets of free programs to schools participating in our Stepping On Up Student Essay Writing contest »

Work with Michael Pritchard

Michael Pritchard, the host of Stepping On Up, has been making impactful presentations to schools, youth and community organizations across the country for nearly 30 years and has been called America’s Most Respected Youth CounselorLearn more about working with Michael »

Recommended Sites, Programs and Partner Resources

There are numerous resources on the Web to augment Stepping On Up and build safer, more caring and focused schools. Be sure to check out all of our Free Resources »