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Learning Soft Skills In Childhood Can Prevent Harder Problems Later

Learning Soft Skills In Childhood Can Prevent Harder Problems Later
Bjorn Rune Lie/Getty Images/Ikon Images Academic learning is usually in the spotlight at school, but teaching elementary-age students "soft" skills like self-control and social skills might help in keeping at-risk kids out of criminal trouble in the future, a study finds. Duke University researchers looked at a program called Fast Track, which was started in the early 1990s for children who were identified by their teachers and parents to be at high risk for developing aggressive behavioral problems. The students were randomized into two groups; half took part in the intervention, which included a teacher-led curriculum, parent training groups, academic tutoring and lessons in self-control and social skills. The program, which lasted from first grade through 10th grade, reduced delinquency, arrests and use of health and mental health services as the students aged through adolescence and young adulthood, as researchers explained in a separate study published earlier this year.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/17/459873281/learning-soft-skills-in-childhood-can-prevent-harder-problems-later

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Data Collection > Fast Track Project Conceptual Framework and Instruments The long-term goal of the Fast Track Project is to test the effectiveness of a developmentally based sequence of interventions designed to prevent antisocial and related behavior problems. During the year 2003, all three cohorts at each of the four research sites completed the full intervention program scheduled through the tenth grade. Annual assessment of each cohort included multiple measures of functioning to assess reduction of negative outcomes, as well as improvement in the protective factors targeted in the intervention model.

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