The You Can Do It Program teaches children the social and emotional skills they need to be confident and relate to other people; to be persistent, be organised and cope with life’s disappointments and strong emotions.
It was developed in 2004 by Michael Bernard and is also taught in schools under the name Program Achieve.
Its unique contribution is in identifying the social and emotional capabilities that all young people need to acquire in order to be successful in school, experience well being, and have positive relationships including making contributions to others and the community (good citizenship).
You Can Do It uses five puppets to teach its social-emotional skills.
These are: Connie Confidence, Pete Persistence, Oscar Organisation, Gabby Get along and Ricky Resilience.
When Connie Confidence visits the children she tells them: ‘I am good at doing many things. I can learn to do just about anything. I know it is okay to make mistakes when I am learning something new. I am good at making friends and meeting new people. I look and sound confident. I look at people when I speak to them. I use a strong voice, not too loud and not too soft, so people can hear what I’m saying.’
Confident ways of behaving are taught and reinforced through numerous activities with Connie and in conversation with children.
Pete Persistence teaches the children: ‘I never give up. No task is too difficult for me. I like trying hard. I know I do my best when I am persistent.’
Oscar Organisation says: I always listen to what the teacher is saying. I take care of things by putting them away when I have finished using them. I always plan to do my best work.’
Gabby Get Along teaches us: ‘I work and play nicely with other children. I like to get along with other people. I take turns and share. I try to fix problems by talking, not fighting.’
Ricky Resilience is good at calming down when he is upset. He tells the children he knows what to do when he is feeling sad or angry or worried about something. He is able to calm himself down to work and play again.
The YOU CAN DO IT program with the support of parents, families and the staff at PETNS helps each child:
- Be Confident
- Be Persistant
- Be Organised
- Get Along with others & make new friends
- Cope with life’s disappointments & strong emotions
Central to the development of these 5 Key Foundations is instilling in young people 12 Habits of the Mind, including:
- Accepting Myself
- Taking Risks
- Being Independent
- I Can Do It
- Giving Effort
- Working Tough
- Setting Goals
- Planning My Time
- Being Tolerant of Others
- Thinking First
- Playing by the Rules, and
- Social Responsibility
This last point includes the values of Caring, Doing Your Best, Freedom,Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility,Understanding, Tolerance, and Inclusion.
Included in the core purpose is the elimination of social and emotional difficulties and disabilities (“Blockers”) that constitute barriers to young people’s learning and well-being, including:
- Feeling Very Worried
- Feeling Very Down
- Not Paying Attention or Disturbing Others, and
- Feeling Very Angry or Misbehaving.
YCDI is deliberate in restructuring negative Habits of the Mind that give rise to these Blockers and in the explicit teaching of alternative positive Habits of the Mind.
This approach includes positive, caring relationships with young people.
However, it is clear that in order to change the developmental trajectory of young people with poor mental health (emotional, social and behavioural challenges) and learning outcomes and to accelerate their social and emotional development, it is vital that schools, homes and communities be transformed so that the responsibility for supporting and educating, including quality social and emotional learning experiences and caring relationships, is shared throughout the community.
For more information or ideas on ways you can support the You Can Do It Program, contact staff or view the YCDI Parents resource page.