PATHS (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies)

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Effective-RCT Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Children
Sector: 
School-based
Topic: 
Antisocial Behavior, Behavioral Problems, Depression, Emotional Competency, Social Competency
Target Audience 

This program is for students in 1st to 6th grade.

Summary 

PATHS® (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies), a comprehensive school-based program, is designed to promote social and emotional competencies and prevent violence, aggression, and behavior problems among children. PATHS also strives to strengthen children's critical thinking skills and improve the classroom climate.

Evidence 

Randomized controlled trials conducted on the original multi-year version of the PATHS program have demonstrated significant improvements in students' social problem-solving skills, emotion recognition skills, and teacher- and parent-rated social competence. PATHS participants had fewer behavior problems compared to a control group. Finally, there were reductions in teacher-rated conduct problems and improvements in student aggression, hyperactivity, and peer problems. No evaluations have been conducted on the also available updated, grade-specific version of the program.

Components 

The PATHS curriculum is developed for use in the classroom setting and should be introduced at the entrance of schooling and continue through 5th or 6th grade. It contains over 250 lessons and is designed to be used as a classroom module with 40 to 52 lessons delivered each year. PATHS offers separate curriculum for each grade level such as preschool/kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, and grades 5/6. Each grade-specific curriculum is divided into three major units:

  • Readiness and Self-Control Unit: Children are taught a self-control strategy called the Turtle Technique to improve the group process and increase attention. The Turtle Technique also teaches children to stop and think before reacting to a situation.
  • Feelings and Relationships Unit: Children are taught emotional socialization. They learn to identify, label, manage, and express feelings and understand the difference between feelings and behaviors.
  • Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving Unit: Children are taught to identify problems and feelings, generate alternative solutions, evaluate consequences, and select the best plan.

Units also contain lessons that discuss self-awareness skills, nonverbal and verbal communication skills, and how to develop a positive outlook on life. Family communication materials are incorporated into all the units that include activities for parents/guardians to complete with their children.

Previous Use 

PATHS was developed in the early 1980s and has been field-tested and researched in the U.S. and abroad with children in regular education classrooms. In addition, this program has been used with children who have deafness, hearing-impairment, learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, mild mental delay, and giftedness.

Training 

Training is not required but is strongly recommended. The PATHS training model is tailored to each individual program site. However, an on-site two-day workshop is offered for up to 30 participants. Technical assistance, booster visits, and retraining is also available. Teachers, school counselors, principals and other support staff should attend the training to promote successful implementation. The cost for two day on-site training is $4000 plus travel expenses. For more information on training, please visit: Training is not required but is strongly recommended. The PATHS training model is tailored to each individual program site. However, an on-site, 2-day workshop is offered for up to 30 participants for $4000 plus travel expenses. Technical assistance, booster visits, and retraining are also available. Teachers, school counselors, principals, and other support staff should attend the training to promote successful implementation. For more information on training, please visit www.pathseducation.com

Considerations 

Considerations for implementing the PATHS program include obtaining funding for program and training costs; acquiring teacher buy-in; and understanding that strong principal, administrative, and parental support of the PATHS program will assist in successful implementation of the program.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185, or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu

Implementation 

If you are interested in implementing PATHS, the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you! Please call: 1-877-382-9185, or email: Clearinghouse@psu.edu

Time 

The PATHS curriculum is taught two to three times a week for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes for a 5-year period. However, lesson times vary depending on the needs of the classroom.

Cost 

Classroom modules range from $399 to $599 each. Counselor's Packages range from $2,369 to $3,169 each. For more information on cost of program materials and to order, please visit www.channing-bete.com/prevention-programs/paths/components-intro.html Prices are subject to change without notice.

Evaluation Plan 

The Clearinghouse can help you to develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals. Please call: 1-877-382-9185, or email: Clearinghouse@psu.edu

Contact 

Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program. Phone: 1-877-382-9185 Email: Clearinghouse@psu.edu

You may also contact Dorothy Morelli, CEO of PATHS Education Worldwide by phone 1-615-364-6606, email dorothy@pathseducation.com or visit www.pathseducation.com

*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.