Problem Solve for Schools
The I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) is a school-based
intervention that trains children in generating a variety of
solutions to interpersonal problems, considering the consequences
of these solutions, and recognizing thoughts, feelings, and
motives that generate problem situations. By teaching children to
think, rather than what to think, the program changes
thinking styles and, as a result, enhances childrens social
adjustment, promotes pro-social behavior, and decreases
impulsivity and inhibition.
The program was originally designed for use in nursery school
and kindergarten, but it has also been successfully implemented
with children in grades 1 to 6.
Throughout the intervention,
instructors utilize pictures, role-playing, puppets, and group
interaction to help develop students thinking skills, and
childrens own lives and problems are used as examples when
teachers demonstrate problem-solving techniques.
The intervention begins
with a series of lessons that teaches preschool and kindergarten
children basic skills and
problem-solving language. For example, children learn word
concepts such as not (e.g., "Is that a good idea or
not a good idea?"); same/different (e.g., "Can you think of a
different way to solve this problem?"); if...then (e.g.,
"If you hit Johnny, then what might happen?").
lessons for all age groups focus on identifying one’s own feelings
and becoming sensitive to others’ emotions. Students learn to
recognize people’s feelings in problem situations and realize that
they can influence others’ responses.
set of lessons utilize role-playing games and dialogue to promote
problem-solving skills. Students generate solutions to
hypothetical problem situations and consider the possible
consequences to their decisions.
To provide an opportunity for all children to participate,
Preschool and Kindergarten lessons should be conducted in two
groups, each group consisting of 1/2 the class (over 3-4 month
period). If daily lessons for each group are not feasible, then
alternate days for lessons so that each group receives lessons at
least twice a week. From 1st grade on it is more feasible to
conduct the lessons with the whole class.
An evaluation of
ICPS that included nursery and kindergarten students revealed
significant benefits for intervention students. Immediately
following and one year after the program ended, ICPS children,
compared to control students, demonstrated:
five-year study including inner-city, low income children in
nursery school and kindergarten demonstrated that intervention
children, compared to control students, had:
replication with fifth and sixth grade students found that ICPS
children, compared to a control group, demonstrated:
positive, prosocial behaviors;
relationships with peers; and
For more information see the
For information on Dr.
Shure's books on I Can Problem Solve for Schools, visit