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.
I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) is a universal school-based program designed to enhance the interpersonal cognitive processes and problem-solving skills of children in preschool through grade 6.
Developed by Dr. Myrna B. Shure for three age groups and supported by 25 years of meticulous research, ICPS, an award-winning, evidence-based social and emotional learning program for children, 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.
ICPS for Intermediate Elementary Grades
- Structured Lessons: A total of 77 lessons, each with an easy-to-follow teacher script, guide children’s learning of essential ICPS vocabulary and concepts and problem-solving skills (alternative solutions, consequences, solution-consequence pairs, means-end thinking).
- Interaction in the Classroom: Teachers and students learn a whole new way to communicate, using ICPS dialoging, a special technique of problem-solving talk. The result is an improved classroom climate with less conflict and more cooperation.
- Integration into the Curriculum: Children practice ICPS problem-solving concepts as they work on math, reading, science, social studies, and other academic subjects.
Lessons speak to children on their own level, using games, stories, puppets, illustrations, and role-plays. A key program principle is that the child, not the teacher, must solve the problem at hand. In other words, ICPS teaches children how to think, not what to think.
Praise for ICPS
“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
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 (AmericanPsychological Association) Psychology Matters Initiative
ICPS is also included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), a searchable online registry that identifies scientifically based approaches to prevention and treatment of mental illness and/or substance abuse.
The Center for Schools and Communities provides training and consultation for schools, facilities, or organizations nationwide. For more information and available dates, please visit the author’s information page.
SEL Program – Working in the Home with I Can Problem Solve (ICPS)
The following at-home exercise utilizing I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) concepts and strategies was constructed by Stephanie Colvin-Roy, Lead International Trainer at the Center for Schools and Communities.
During this time, when families are home together and going through different stages of grief related to COVID-19, they have an opportunity to provide comfort and reassurance for one another. The ICPS and Raising a Thinking Child program can be utilized in the home – with or without access to technology. Literature and other forms of media can be used to create awareness of the difference between helpful and hurtful social behaviors and promote perspective-taking (empathy). Perspective-taking is the ability to see or take on someone else’s point of view while thinking and developing the ability to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Here is a strategy utilizing ICPS concepts: (The words that are capitalized and in bold letters are emphasized to help youth problem solve if they have been engaging in ICPS or Raising a Thinking Child games. These questions can be used to help children problem solve and promote perspective-taking even if ICPS is new or unfamiliar.)
Talking with young people while reading stories, or sharing other forms of media together such as age-appropriate television, movies, and video games can promote social and emotional learning skills such as problem solving and perspective taking.
- How do you think the character is feeling when (name a specific event from the story, program, movie, etc.)?
- WHY do you think the character feels _______? (e.g. SAD, ANGRY, HAPPY)
- How can you tell they MIGHT feel_______? (If needed, ask “What are they doing or saying that makes you think they feel this way?”)
- How do you think this other character feels?
- How can you tell they MIGHT feel ______?
- Do you think these characters feel or think the SAME way or a DIFFERENT way about the situation?
- WHY do you think they feel a DIFFERENT way? WHY do you think they feel the SAME way?
- WHY do you think these characters are treating them this way? BECAUSE _________.
- How do you think you would feel if you were treated this way?
- Would you do the SAME thing or something DIFFERENT in this situation?
- What would you do that is DIFFERENT? What would you do that is the SAME?
- Why MIGHT this character be making this choice?
- Which character do you relate to most? WHY do you relate most to this character? BECAUSE _______.