Making Social Skills Every Child’s Primary Language Published: Second Step program’s Spanish translation increases accessibility of crucial skills Seattle – More and more experts agree that social-emotional learning (SEL) is vital to children’s education and to their success later in life, and Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children has long been on the cutting edge of the SEL wave. The latest edition of their research-based and widely acclaimed Second Step program now features Spanish translations of the lessons and other student and family materials. The Second Step program teaches skills that help students get along with one another—empathy, emotion management, and problem solving—but also teaches skills shown to support academic achievement, such as listening, paying attention, following directions, and ignoring distractions. And in keeping with Committee for Children’s reputation for producing quality, research-based materials, the Spanish translations were reviewed and piloted in bilingual classrooms before their release. Lilia Elena Goldsmith, a counselor at Seattle’s Hamilton International Middle School, served as a reviewer for the Spanish translations. Ms. Goldsmith, a native Spanish speaker, feels that learning Second Step vocabulary in their native tongue will be very beneficial to Spanish-speaking students. “I’m glad that they have the opportunity to learn emotions in both languages and make their vocabulary and emotional world bigger.” Like their English-speaking counterparts, she says, “learning how to be good friends, assertiveness, managing their emotions, solving problems—they need all these skills, too.” Ms. Goldsmith also appreciates the Second Step parent components, which were also translated into Spanish. “I think it is very important that parents can understand and help their students at home—learn what their students are learning, how to speak it, and why it is important to learn those skills,” says Goldsmith. “They can talk to students about this at home and make more connections with their students that way.” Maria Jaimes is also a native Spanish speaker, and a bilingual kindergarten teacher at Galindo Elementary in Austin, TX. She piloted the Second Step Spanish translations in her classroom and was impressed with their accuracy. “I didn’t actually find any terms that needed to be changed. The message of each lesson was clear and to the point,” said Ms. Jaimes. Committee for Children research scientist Brian Smith, Ph.D., adds, “The Second Step program has long been known for combining the latest SEL research with ease of lesson delivery. Teachers don’t have to do much lesson prep at all, and they know their kids are getting excellent SEL skills. But the need for these skills is not unique to any one population or culture, so anything we can do to extend the Second Step program’s accessibility is time well spent.” The Second Step Spanish translations are included in the price of the English curriculum, and are therefore available online at no extra cost to anyone using the program.