Integrated Academic and Character Development Program

building the character of children How the Program Works (Program Methods)

Learning for Life features grade-specific, theme-oriented lesson plans to be used in the classroom to enhance and support the core curriculum. Lessons are designed to be conducted by the classroom teacher in conjunction with the core curriculum. The Learning for Life curriculum is research based and our content team has uniquely embedded character development traits into lessons that are aligned to core curriculum standards in all 50 states. This provides authentic practice of core curriculum topics and skills. Embedded is critical character development and life skills lessons.

Learning for Life is an action-learning process and uses engaging teaching techniques such as role-playing, small-group discussions, reflective and moral dilemma exercises, online interactive lessons and hands-on activities. The reflective portion of each lesson is the pivotal point at which youth have the opportunity to think about what they’ve learned and integrate the experience into real life.

Lessons are designed to reinforce academic, social, ethical, and character development skills in various areas. These include critical and creative thinking, conflict resolution, decision making, interpersonal relationships, practical life skills, self-esteem building, writing and language arts, citizenship and personal fitness.

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Programs in Learning for Life

Learning for Life has seven program components:

School Based Programs:

1. Seekers Program (Early Childhood-2nd Grades)

The Seekers’ Program offers an integrated approach to character development designed for Early Childhood through 2nd grade youth. The program blends character development, life skills, academic learning, and outdoor experiences into a comprehensive program geared to help students successfully handle the complexities of contemporary society, reinforce social skills, critical and creative thinking, ethical decision making, conflict resolution, and build their self-esteem. The 8 core character traits promoted in the Seekers Program are: 1) Respect, 2) Responsibility, 3) Honesty/Trust, 4) Caring/ Fairness, 5) Perseverance, 6) Self-Discipline, 7) Courage, 8) Citizenship. A group of Life Skills lesson plans with themes like Safety and Classic Literature are also included.

The Early Childhood program (Ages 3 and 4) consists of a Teacher’s Guide with 58 lesson plans including topics: Sharing, I am Special, I can Listen, Being Brave and Healthy Eating. Lessons are based on the eight character traits, life skills and focus on the cognitive, emotional and social skills development. Each lesson plan also includes a “Home/Family Activity Worksheet which enhance the vocabulary development, listening skills, and understanding the purpose of the printed word; a children’s book, Wonderfully Made Under My Bed by Janice Bloom is included. A Youth Protection program is featured with a “Parent’s Guide to Abuse”, a DVD “Play It Safe” which has a “Parent Discussion Guide”. The “Play It Safe” DVD features ventriloquist Ronn Lucas and his friends. The emphasis of the DVD is to teach pre-school children the four rules of personal safety which include: 1) Check first 2)Go with a friend 3) It’s my body 4) Tell a trusted Friend.

Curricula books for grades K-2 consists of 61 lesson plans, all age-appropriate and grade specific. Lessons focus on themes such as “Accepting Consequences”, “Gangs”, “Meeting Deadlines”, “Respecting Differences”, and “Sticking to What’s Right”. Through reflection activities in each lesson, students engage in analyzing their behaviors. Lessons are easily integrated into core curricula subjects. Each lesson plan also includes a “Home Activity Worksheet” which teachers send to the student’s parent/guardian as an extension activity to reinforce the lesson plan in the home environment.

The Seekers Program has its own recognition plan that includes honor charts and 15 colorful stickers for student participation.

Other value-added features of the Seeker’s Program includes: outdoor experiences, community speakers, field trips, and teacher training.

Safety Seekers (K-2) is a value added program book filled with many individual and group activities that review the four rules of personal safety. The book can be used in any instructional setting or sent home to be used by parents. The four rules include:
• Check with a parent
• Go with a friend
• It’s your body
• Tell a trused adult

An English and Spanish version is available in K-2 in the teacher’s guide and student workbook and can be ordered from your local office.

2. Discoverers Program (3rd - 4th Grades)

The Discoverers Program combines character development, life skills, academic learning and outdoor experiences specifically designed for 3rd and 4th grade youth. It mirrors the Seekers Program by providing an integrated approach to character development. The 61 lesson plans for each grade focus on eight character traits: 1) Respect, 2) Responsibility, 3) Honesty/Trust, 4) Caring/Fairness, 5) Perseverance, 6) Self-Discipline, 7) Courage, 8) Citizenship. Additionally a set of Life skills lessons are included. Each 3rd and 4th grade book has 61 lesson plans focusing on many of the same themes as the Seekers Program; however, lesson plans progress in difficulty and cognitive level. Lessons focus on critical thinking, conflict resolution, perseverance, courage, interpersonal skills and ethical decision making. The Discoverers program has a teacher’s edition and student workbook for each grade. Teachers can use the student recognition program. To further enhance the Discoverers Program, each book contains an interactive CD-ROM game for students titled “Super Safe”. The game presents a series of six age-appropriate scenarios where students have to make choices about safety issues. The six scenarios are: Internet Safety, Nonviolent Strategies, Verbal Abuse, Bullying, Youth Protection, and Unsupervised Children. The game also provides information that can be sent home to parents/guardians. The information details issues that are being addressed in the “Super Safe” CD-ROM game and shows way parents/guardians can help their child’s development. Other value-added components of the Discoverers Program includes: community speakers, mentors, outdoor experiences, field trips and teacher training.

3. Challengers Program (5th – 6th Grades) 

Specifically designed for the cognitive and developmental levels of 5th and 6th grade students, the Challengers Program continues Learning for Life’s character education emphasis by integrating components of both the Seekers and Discoverers Program. The Challengers Program focuses on the same eight character traits as Seekers and Discoverers: 1) Respect, 2) Responsibility, 3) Honesty/Trust, 4) Caring/Fairness, 5) Perseverance, 6) Self-Discipline, 7) Courage, 8) Citizenship. Lesson plans on Life Skills are also part of the Challengers program. The 61 lesson plans in each of the Challengers books focus on topics such as “Being Responsible”, “Making Good Decisions”, “Code of Ethics”, “Empathy”, etc. The lesson plans are geared to a higher level of cognitive and developmental learning than the Seekers and Discoverers lessons. A Home/Family activity is part of every lesson. Each grade has its own teacher’s edition as well as student workbook. A recognition feature helps teachers to reward student participation. The Challengers Program, like the Discoverers Program, also comes with a “Super Safe” CD-ROM game for students. However, the game for Challengers is completely different from the Discoverers game, and offers more difficult scenarios to enhance students’ critical thinking skills. Other value-added features in the Challengers Program are: community speakers, mentors, outdoor experiences, field trips and teacher training.

4. Builders Program (7th – 8th Grades)

The Builders Program is a comprehensive, four-tier blend of elements focusing on Character Education, Career Education, Building Relationships and Citizenship for students in the 7th and 8th grades. Lesson plans in both the 7th and 8th grade teacher’s editions are designed to reinforce social, academic and career education skills in various areas, such as critical and creative thinking, conflict resolution, decision making, interpersonal relationships, practical life skills, selfesteem, writing and language arts, citizenship and personal fitness. There are 44 lesson plans in each of the Builders Books, ranging in topics from “Peer Pressure: Who Can I Trust” to “Self Assessment of Skills and Abilities” to “Problem Solving: The Intricacies of Relating to Others”. The lessons are action-oriented and use teaching techniques such as role-playing, small group discussions, and reflective and moral dilemmas exercise. The Builders Program features a teacher’s edition and student workbook for each grade. In addition, many of the same value-added features included with the Seekers, Discoverers and Challengers Programs are also part of the Builders Program, including community speakers, mentors, outdoor experiences, field trips and teacher training. Life Choices: A Character Game CD-ROM is included in the 7th grade teacher’s book. It offers exciting activities that help teach life and career skills. The 8th Grade teacher’s edition features a DVD, A Time To Tell” that addresses youth protection issues. Builders can be recognized
with the Builders Award of Excellence/.

Community Role Models. The Learning for Life seventh- and eighth-grade program is designed to provide community role models to motivate and interact with youth. Role models meet with a specific class (e.g., English, Social Studies, or Math) and discuss the relationship of that subject to a work situation. These role models, with backgrounds similar to those of the youth, share their personal paths to success, including the pitfalls and the high points.

5. Navigators Program (9th – 12th Grades)

The Navigators Program is designed to extend the learning experiences taught through Learning for Life’s Builders Program for 7th and 8th grade students. Just as the word “navigators” implies, the program serves to guide youngsters in making a successful transition from high school into real-world endeavors, including post-secondary education, acquiring a job, being a productive citizen, and establishing and maintaining positive relationships with others. There are two (2) books in the Navigators Program: Book One – A Personal Compass for Daily Living features lesson plans in the following areas: Citizenship, Ethical Dilemmas, Habits of Character Education and Service to Others. Book One also includes a student DVD on youth protection for high school aged youth called, “Personal Safety Awareness”. Book Two – A Road Map for the Future features lesson plans in the following areas: Career Education, College Life and Life Skills. Book Two includes a CD-ROM titled Life Choices: A Career Game.

Although aspects of these two books are introduced in Learning for Life’s elementary books and taught in a more advanced way through the 7th and 8th grade books, the Navigators Program takes students to a much deeper level of learning and a much broader set of learning experiences. When students complete the Navigators Program, they will be better prepared to enter the workforce or enter post-secondary education. They will have deeper understandings and more strategies to support their efforts to achieve success in their chosen venture. Recognitions are available for students in character and career achievement.

Career Seminars can be a unique feature of the Navigators program. Career Seminars offer students first hand information on future vocational options. Seminars can be organized as a career fair or speakers in a classroom.

6. Champions Program (for Special Needs Youth)

The Champions program assists students with mental challenges to develop the life skills they need to achieve selfsufficiency. The teacher’s edition features 57 lessons also focus on and enhance student self-development. Areas covered include:
  • Personal/Social Skills. Students learn how emotions affect their own behavior and that of others
  • Life Skills. Students are taught basic skills for independent living, such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and job-readiness training.

A recognition program helps to reinforce the skills in the Champions Program. Because of the various forms and levels of special needs that schools may encounter, any of the Learning for Life curriculum books may be used in the Champions Program. In this way, Learning for Life can be tailored to fit the needs of each individual class and student and is certain to be age-appropriate.

Champions Transition Program
The Champions Transition Program is geared toward high school-aged special needs youth. This program features lesson plans focusing on managing finances, vocational opportunities, mental skills for good work habits, decision making skills, planning and preparation and seeking a job. A certificate can be used for those participating in the program.