I Can Problem Solve [ICPS]

An Interpersonal Cognitive Problem-Solving Program
Third Edition
Preschool and Kindergarten
Pages: 462
ISBN: 9780878227273
Item Number: 4632

$48.99You save $21.00 (30%)



The designation indicates that a program is evidence-based; well-designed and classroom-based program that systematically promotes students’ social and emotional competence, provides opportunities for practice, and offers multiyear programming; and delivers high-quality training and other implementation supports.

This new third edition of I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) is adapted to combine a preschool and kindergarten curriculum.

ICPS is an evidence-based, cognitive approach that teaches children ages 4 to 12 how to think – not what to think – in ways that help them learn to resolve interpersonal problems that arise with peers and adults. That approach, and how it applies to ICPS, is explained in more detail in this third, new edition.

New to the Third Edition:

For the children:

  • Introductions and closing activities to provide transition into and out of ICPS lessons, prompt inquiry and enthusiasm, assist in review, and facilitate reinforcement of ICPS concepts.

For teachers:

  • The purpose of lessons includes additional mediators related to social and emotional skill development and advanced cognitive skills. Some teacher scripts have been extended and modified, with suggestions for adaptations. Additional notes and HINTS have been provided to facilitate instruction and encourage prosocial behavior.


  • Some illustrations have been modified and updated, and additional illustrations have been made for use as reminders of ICPS language to be used in real-life.

The third edition further updates the earlier publications along three dimensions:

  1. Conceptual Issues,
  2. Content of Lessons, and
  3. Directions for Implementing Lessons.

The impact of ICPS is effective in part because of two unique elements of the program, from which the thinking styles are derived. The first is a series of vocabulary words, which Shure calls “ICPS Word Pairs.” These pairs include IS–NOT, SAME–DIFFERENT, and MIGHT–MAYBE.  The second unique feature of the curriculum is what Shure coined “ICPS Dialoguing”— applied in real-life conflict and other problem situations. Instead of being told what and what not to do and why, the child actively participates in the conversation and learns to think for himself what and what not to do and why.

Carefully chosen word pairs and concepts are taught explicitly. How they provide the foundation for what we call “ICPS Dialoguing”—a necessary, unique approach that guides children’s behavior—is explained in detail. Also introduced in this new edition are ways that ICPS is relevant to updated developmental priorities:

  • Social and emotional learning,
  • Executive function,
  • Early literacy, and
  • academic readiness

This program is a revision of a curriculum originally designed in 1971. Developed by Dr. Myrna B. Shure for three age groups and supported by 25 years of meticulous research, ICPS is proven to prevent and reduce early high-risk behaviors such as impulsivity and social withdrawal, and to promote prosocial behaviors such as concern for others and positive peer relationships.

The lesson-games and real-life applications of concepts taught that are inside the pages of this manual are based on Spivack’s early premise that children’s behavior could be guided by how they think about what they’re doing, rather than focusing directly upon behaviors themselves.

Skills that children learn, called interpersonal cognitive problem-solving skills (also ICPS), guide children as early as preschool to think of more than one way to solve a problem (alternative solution thinking); what MIGHT happen next if a solution were carried out (consequential thinking); and, beginning at age 8, sequenced plans to reach a stated interpersonal goal (means-ends thinking or sequential planning). These skills provide an opportunity to acquire immediate ways to confront and resolve everyday events directly and with confidence AND to have the additional confidence to directly engage future and unknown interpersonal challenges.

Shown below is the Prosocially Yours podcast produced by Research Press. In this episode, host Elizabeth Hess interviews educator, trainer and co-author, Stephanie Colvin-Roy, about the new edition of the best-selling I Can Problem Solve – Preschool and Kindergarten curriculum.



The Center for Schools and Communities provides training and consultation for schools, facilities, or organizations nationwide. For more information and available dates, please contact:

Stephanie Colvin-Roy, Lead ICPS National Trainer
Center for Schools and Communities
Phone:717.763.1661 ext. 209


“PreK and K are formative years in the development of children’s thinking skills and, having worked so caringly with kids of that age, Myrna Shure has a unique understanding of how to exercise their cognitive muscles in ways they love. The use of word pairs, brainstorming, solution-consequence pairs, and adult-child dialoguing have been proven to help young children become better problem solvers. Counselors can have no better tool to use in small groups or to bring to teachers than this ICPS curriculum.”

“This curriculum is an extraordinary accomplishment. It provides outstanding guidance to educators about the development of thinking skills in early childhood. It then goes on and translates Myrna Shure’s deep love for—and enjoyment of—children with all the fun, insightful, practical techniques she developed over the years to build young children’s problem-solving capacities. For counselors, this is a resource that will be welcomed by teachers and by young children, whether for classroom or small group use. There is absolutely no better SEL program for this age group than ICPS.”

—Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., is a professor and the director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology, Rutgers University; academic director of Rutgers’ Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnerships Program (


“These books can become a teacher’s best friend in promoting children’s critical social-thinking skills and in boosting a peace-making climate in the classroom.”

—Dr. Alice Sterling Honig, Professor Emerita of Child Development at Syracuse University

“Rather than telling them what to do, the volume gives children ways to talk about and think problems through. Clear steps and examples are used to introduce each step, along with ways of integrating the concept into other curricula and into classroom interaction.”

—Ted Bowman, Family Forum

“I highly recommend this book for any educator who has ever been frustrated by behavior problems in the classroom. It is a refreshingly practical approach to a common and difficult problem in many classrooms. This is definitely a book for those of us on the ‘front lines’ of our educational system.”

—Lou Ann Warren, East Texas School Study Council Newsletter

Awards and Recognition

I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) has been recognized as:

  • A SELect Program by CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning—highest award)
  • A Promising Program, OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
  • A Lela Rowland Prevention Award Winner, Mental Health America (formerly National Mental Health Association)
  • An effective research-based discipline and violence prevention program, AFT (American Federation of Teachers)
  • An Exemplary Mental Health Program by NASP (National Association of School Psychologists)
  • Among the top six violence prevention programs in a five-state area, Department of Health and Human Services, Mid-Atlantic Region
  • A character education program of merit, New Jersey Department of Education
  • Research with valuable applications that make a difference in people’s lives, APA (American Psychological Association) Psychology Matters Initiative

4632_22128rsp_Lesson 6 (SAME-DIFFERENT)


Reproducible forms and handouts for this title are available on our downloads page.

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