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MVS IN THE NEWS
posted: Wed, Nov 13th, 2019


Program reminds students that their words have an impact

“Think about walking on a beach and leaving footprints in the sand,” said Kathryn Devins, school counselor. “That’s really what the program is all about. Your words and actions are more powerful than you think and can leave lasting effects on someone’s heart and feelings.”

The program is Footprints for Life, which is in its final weeks at Mountain View. In the six weekly sessions, program facilitators come to Mountain View to teach third-graders interpersonal skills, strategies for making good decisions, cultural respect, ways to resist peer pressure, and peaceful conflict resolution. Weekly homework assignments and worksheets reinforce the lessons between classes and help involve parents in the learning experience.

One of the unique components of Footprints is the extensive opportunity students have to practice in a fun way the skills they have learned. The third-graders use puppets, a hallmark of the program, to role-play and act out various scenarios that might occur in real life, including those involving peer conflict. A focus of these sessions is the use of I-messages – assertive, non-confrontational statements that begin with the word “I” and express feelings, beliefs, and values. 

“Footsteps reminds students that they should never be afraid to tell their peers how they are feeling, especially when they are being treated in a way that is unkind,” said Mrs. Devins. “I am always reminded of the program’s impact when I hear a third-grader reference an I-message or a specific method of communication. It means they were really paying attention and the program really does work.”

Footprints for Life is offered through Morris County Prevention is Key, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of health and well-being of county residents, and the prevention of substance abuse, addiction, violence, and related issues. 

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