Challenging Minds

Creating Opportunities

Leading Change


According to CASEL, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a basic part of education and human development. SEL is where all students learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy character, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.


SEL makes a difference. Research demonstrates that an education that promotes SEL has a positive impact on a wide range of outcomes, including academic performance, healthy relationships, mental wellness, and much more To read more about the benefits of SEL and glance at what the data shows it can do for your students, please see this LINK

Please watch these videos to better understand why SEL is so important in school:


We teach this curriculum at UTVA as we believe that a focus on social and emotional development will help students to thrive in life and in their classroom. Each month, all of our K-3 students will be taught these guidance lessons in their classroom to help them learn how to develop skills and character traits that will enable them to achieve social, emotional and academic success.


To see what we will be teaching to UTVA students each month, please review the following SEL plan.


The Botvin Life Skills Training is a new Utah state requirement in education. This is a prevention program that addresses how health behaviors and lifestyle play major roles in determining risk for accidents and disease. Among these behavioral risk factors, cigarette smoking has been identified as the number one preventable cause of death and disease.

The results of the Life Skills Training approach with elementary and junior high school students have consistently shown that it reduces tobacco, alcohol other drug use among students and the effects are long-lasting.

Emphasis on prevention has also been fueled by national surveys showing that the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs by outh has increased dramatically since 1992.

This program will be taught to 4th and 5th graders at UTVA.


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: Everything is Possible
Scope and Overview: The unit will orient them toward understanding that we are all capable of dreaming bigger than we ever thought possible. Students will learn to take small steps every day on the road to their dreams, embrace their creativity and imaginations, look on the bright side of things, and turn mistakes or setbacks into opportunities. READ MORE HERE

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Intro and Self Esteem
Scope and Overview: This program is proven to reduce tobacco, alcohol and other drug use and is long-lasting. Will help children understand what self-esteem is and how it is developed. To make children aware that they are unique and should feel good about it. Some children no longer come to school with a strong sense of self and are faced with a family life that actually encourages the development of low self-esteem. Even children who come from stable and supporting families are at risk.


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: Passion First
Scope and Overview: The unit will expose them to the understanding that we are all individuals with our own unique passions and talents. In this unit, you will learn to spend time doing the things that you truly enjoy, to align your core values to your interests, and to be true to yourself by aligning your passions with what matters most to you. READ MORE HERE 

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Decision-Making
Scope and Overview: Children are notorious for making poor decisions, they are impulsive and rarely think about the consequences of their actions. Decision-making becomes more serious when one realizes that the decisions a child makes today may have an impact on their future use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. 


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: We are Connected
Scope and Overview: This unit will encourage students to seek out and maximize positive relationships with people who can help them achieve their dreams. Students will explore the idea of surrounding themselves with people who build them up and inspire them to live their best lives. They will learn to actively seek ways to offer kindness in order to strengthen these relationships. READ MORE HERE

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Smoking Information and Advertising
Scope and Overview: Children are experimenting with tobacco at younger and younger ages and are developing attitudes about it. They naturally wonder what they are missing. Studies show that if people have not started smoking by the time they are 21 years old, they probably won’t start. Teaching this in middle school and high school is now too late and research shows that students now need to learn about tobacco in elementary school. The tobacco industry often targets children to buy their products and sometimes they use “tricky techniques” to persuade people to buy cigarettes. We will teach awareness and help them analyze a real tobacco advertisement.


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: 100% Accountable
Scope and Overview: They will begin to take responsibility for their choices, so they can be more in control of their lives. They will practice overcoming beliefs that hold them back from their dreams. They will learn to focus their energy and make the most of their time, and they will understand learning new skills is a part of growing through life. READ MORE HERE

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Dealing with Stress
Scope and Overview: Stress is common, especially for children. They need to be taught how to deal with it, since it’s such a prevalent part of life. Many people turn to alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to cope with their stress. Which can have life-long consequences. Goal is to teach children about stress and some positive ways to cope with it, to help them develop healthy stress-management techniques instead of unhealthy ones.


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: Attitude of Gratitude
Scope and Overview: Students will learn to recognize their own wonderful impact on the world. Students will be challenged to practice being grateful for the little things in life and will learn to show gratitude by thanking the people who influence them. They will also learn to find positives in negative circumstances and to be thankful for those circumstances. READ MORE HERE 

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Communication Skills
Scope and Overview: Communication skills must be developed, and practicing them can help prevent children from using drugs. Studies show that children who are strong communicators are less likely to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. This lesson will teach a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication skills to practice.


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: Live to Give
Scope and Overview: This unit will focus on giving love and respect to others, and receiving new and exciting things that come into our lives gracefully. Students will learn that by giving back through their interests and passions, they will help other people and leave a lasting legacy on the world. READ MORE HERE 

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Social Skills
Scope and Overview: Children are often victims of peer pressure and friends have a big influence on kids as they grow up. If children are friends with children who use drugs, they are more likely to use drugs too. In addition, children who have a hard time making friends are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol or other drugs if they think it will make people like them. Teaching students about peer pressure will help them in a variety of ways.


K-3: SEL – 7 Mindsets: The Time is Now
Scope and Overview: Students will analyze the world around them and find the beauty in everyday moments. They will be challenged to think hard about a decision before making a choice. Students will identify different things that make them feel vulnerable and work on allowing those feelings to push them to try new things and practice bravery. Finally, they will start to think through their choices to make sure they are taking purposeful steps toward their dreams. READ MORE HERE 

4-5: Botvin Life Skills: Assertiveness
Scope and Overview: Assertiveness means being able to stand up for yourself calmly and firmly. Students who are taught how to be assertive are less likely to participate in behaviors that make them feel uncomfortable. Using an I-message allows a child to remain assertive while communicating their feelings about a certain issue. This lesson will help them practice assertiveness skills.