Decades after a good-behavior program in grade school, adults report healthier, more successful lives

Researchers from the University of Washington have found that a curriculum aimed at children helped them to achieve the “good life” as adults. They defined the good life by factors such as health (both physical and mental), solid relationships, and a steady job or quality education. The curriculum in question – called Raising Healthy Children – was used in Seattle elementary schools during the 1980s. It provided lessons to parents and teachers that stressed forming healthy bonds and providing kids with social skills and reinforcements. Research on the program shows that by the time they reached their 30s, the children in question reported significantly better outcomes than those in comparison groups.

Key Takeaways:

  • In 1985, the Seattle Social Development Project started monitoring the lives of 800 Seattle schoolchildren, and has continued to follow them into adulthood.
  • The SSSP has found that the students whose teachers and parents took classes on how to bond with their kids are now more successful as adults than their peers whose parents didn’t take the classes.
  • Many of the lessons in the class involved concepts that are more widely accepted today than in the 1980s, including the importance of positive reinforcement and fostering positive social interaction.

“Being financially responsible and involvement in your community or civic life also help make life better.”

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