The 4Rs Program

The 4Rs curriculum (Reading, Writing, Respect & Resolution) engages the imagination and creativity of children in grades PreK-5 to help develop critical skills including empathy, community building, and conflict resolution.


A scientific study of The 4Rs found that it improves students’ behavior, well-being, academic performance, and the classroom climate for learning.


The 4Rs has been been implemented in hundreds of schools. CASEL rated it as among the nation's most effective SEL programs.  


Researchers are now studying the impact of The 4Rs combined with a powerful teacher coaching process called My Teaching Partner.

It begins with a story. Gathering the class together, the teacher reads aloud from a children’s book, choosing a story that dramatizes a social and emotional challenge for the main characters. Children are guided through writing exercises, role-playing, and meaningful discussion, as the teacher poses questions about how the characters handled conflict, how they might be feeling, and what alternatives exist for making new decisions.

The 4Rs curriculum opens the door for children to look more closely at their own experiences, and gives them clear tools for handling difficult emotions and resolving conflict with their peers. Meanwhile,  teachers learn strategies they can use throughout the day to create a higher quality classroom experience in which students are focused, settled, and poised to learn.

Morningside Center provides introductory and advanced training and tailored coaching to support educators in teaching The 4Rs curriculum effectively and in creating an equitable and caring classroom community. Each teacher gets a kit that includes everything they need to teach The 4Rs, including a grade-specific teaching guide and children’s books.

The skills and community students and adults build through The 4Rs can lay the groundwork for a school-wide shift to social and emotional learning (SEL) and restorative practices, leading to fewer discipline issues and a closer, kinder school climate.  Find out more about this whole-school SEL/restorative practices model, Restore360.

Students participating The Heart Story activity
  • A Columbia University study found that The 4Rs and other high-quality, research-validated social and emotional learning programs bring a return of $11 for every $1 invested. Read more.

  • Through social and emotional learning, we develop our capacity to manage our feelings, relate well to others, skillfully handle conflict and other life challenges, make good decisions, and take responsibility for improving our communities – from the classroom to the world. More about SEL.

  • For ideas and activities to build your students' social and emotional skills and strengthen your classroom community every day, check out our SEL Tips.  


  • A 4th Grade 4Rs student

    I like how The 4Rs relates to real life situations, and how there are many ways to solve a conflict.  There’s always an answer to a problem. And sometimes you learn life lessons in The 4Rs, like how by working together, different people can unite to make the country better.

    Justin, 4th grade 4Rs student
  • Morningside Center is a true partner in educating the whole child. As a principal, you have to find the right resources that match your own vision, your own expectations. The teachers like the curriculum, it is teacher friendly, it is clear, it is relevant, and it fills in those missing pieces for my teachers.

    Roberta Davenport, Principal

Stories and Voices

Tales and reflections about our work in schools.

In the classroom, students who lack assertiveness skills may hesitate to share their thinking openly or ask clarifying questions when they’re confused, or allow a classmate’s bullying to go unchallenged. And teachers who lack these skills may struggle to set clear behavior expectations in the classroom or hesitate to seek support from coaches and principals.