Early Steps to Self-Determination


The Early Steps to Self-Determination curriculum was designed to be taught in grades K-5. The curriculum is based on the model of self-determination developed by Field and Hoffman in figure 1 (1994; revised 2015). It is aligned with the Steps to Self-Determination (Hoffman & Field, 1996; 2005) curriculum developed for middle and high school age students that has been widely used since 1996.

The Early Steps to Self-Determination curriculum includes 6-8 developmentally appropriate instructional activities for each of the following content areas for each grade level, K-5.

  • Know Yourself and Your Context
  • Value Yourself
  • Plan
  • Act and Experience Outcomes and Learn.

Each lesson was designed to teach academic content as defined by state standards in conjunction with specific self-determination skills. The lessons were aligned with academic benchmarks identified by the state of Michigan for students in elementary settings. As we were developing this curriculum we analyzed the academic requirements across several states and found a high degree of similarity. Therefore the academic content that is included in these lessons should be appropriate in a variety of settings across the country. Each lesson is approximately 20-30 minutes in length and is activity based.

The Early Steps to Self-Determination curriculum guide includes all of the materials necessary to teach the curriculum, with the exception of common classroom materials (e.g., paper, crayons, pencils). This guide contains detailed lesson plans, student worksheets and a student activity assessment that can be used for evaluating student progress. Each lesson plan includes the lesson goal and objectives, related core curriculum standards, time needed, materials needed, activity description, procedures and room for personalized teacher notes.


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