Glossary of Terms

The overall goal of Footprints for Life is to build young children’s social competencies, including planning and decision-making practice, interpersonal skills, cultural competence, peer pressure, and peaceful conflict resolution.

Research by the Search Institute—an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities—shows that when young children have these skills they are more resilient.

This Glossary of Terms was created for classroom teachers involved with Footprints for Life to be used as a reference to answer student or parent questions and to reinforce the skills and information taught through the program.

During Footprints for Life, the majority of these definitions will be introduced to the students as part of the curriculum. Therefore, the definitions included in the Glossary are intentionally written in student-friendly language so classroom teachers can explain terms/concepts in a manner that is consistent with how the terms/concepts were presented by the Footprints for Life Prevention Educators.

Addiction   When a person finds it hard to stop doing something, even though it has harmful consequences. For example, if a person begins to smoke cigarettes, he/she can become addicted very quickly. A smoker’s body will get used to having the drug nicotine, and when nicotine is not provided for a certain period of time, this person will experience withdrawal symptoms (feeling cranky, moody, upset). Although addiction makes it more difficult to stop smoking, quitting smoking is not impossible.
Alcohol   A drug. Some examples of alcohol include beer, wine, liquor, and champagne. You must be 21 to purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages.
Bag of Tricks   A bag of items that students can use to help them to calm down. Some examples of things included inside the Bag of Tricks are Play Doh™, magic markers/crayons, newspaper/paper for scribbling, a pillow for punching or screaming into, and tapes with soothing music.
Cigar   Small roll of tobacco leaf for smoking. Cigars are much thicker than cigarettes.
Cigarette   Small roll of finely cut tobacco enclosed in a wrapper of thin paper and designed for smoking.
Conflict   A disagreement. Students may refer to conflicts as arguments or fights.
Consequence   What happens after you make a decision. If you make a good decision you usually will have good consequences (rewards). If you make a bad decision, you will usually have bad consequences (punishments). For example ,  cleaning your room is a good decision and as a reward you may be allowed to go to your favorite restaurant for dinner. Not cleaning your room is a bad decision. As a consequence, you may not be allowed to play outside with your friends.
Coping Skill   A skill you can use to deal with situations in life such as disappointment, frustration, change, or loss. Even though some situations cannot be changed, coping skills can be used to handle or deal with the situation.  For example, you cannot go outside and play because it is raining. Instead of moping (whining and complaining), you can start coping by playing games with your brother/sister, watching TV, playing video games, reading a book, etc.
Curriculum   A group of related lessons. Footprints for Life is a curriculum because it consists of six specific lessons that are used to teach students important life skills to grow up healthy and resist the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Decision   The result of making a choice.
Developmental Assets     Positive experiences and personal qualities that young people need to grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible citizens. According to the Search Institute, young people with low levels of developmental assets are two to four times more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs as those who have above-average developmental asset levels. This is true for young people from all racial/ethnic, family, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The developmental asset framework includes 40 assets which are categorized into two groups, external and internal assets:

External Assets: Assets identified by the Search Institute as the positive experiences young people receive from interacting with the world around them. The categories for external assets are: Support; Empowerment; Boundaries and Expectations; and Constructive Use of Time.

Internal Assets: Assets identified by the Search Institute as characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth, help young people make thoughtful and positive choices, and, in turn, be better prepared for situations in life that challenge them. The categories for internal assets include: Commitment to Learning; Positive Values; Social Competencies; and Positive Identity. Footprints for Life addresses internal assets, particularly the area referred to as social competencies.
Differences   Things that are not the same. For example, the students in a classroom have differences. Students may eat different kinds of food, wear different types of clothing, and/or celebrate different holidays. It is important to respect other people’s differences, because our differences are what make us so special.
Drugs   Chemicals that affect your mind and/or body. Some drugs are legal and some are illegal.
Empathy   Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives. For example, you may feel sorry for a student who is being teased because you have been teased before, and you understand how it can be hurtful.
Feelings   What happens inside our body when something happens on the outside. All feelings are okay, but what you do with your feelings can cause good or bad consequences.
Footprints for Life™   A six-week, classroom-based primary prevention education program for 2nd and 3rd graders. The program is research-based and designed to build developmental assets and teach skills through the use of puppets and stories that feature “real life” situations. The program is implemented in the classroom by prevention educators trained by NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. and includes a parent information letter and weekly homework assignments so that students receive consistent messages from the home and school settings. Footprints for Life teaches the important life skills students in second and third grade need to grow up healthy and drug-free.
Goal     1) An intended outcome, aim, or purpose. For example, “My goal in life is to write a book.” 2) In soccer, football, hockey and other sports, teammates try to kick, shoot, or hit a ball between the goalposts; the point gained by doing this is a goal. For example, “He scored six goals during the game.”

“I” message:    A healthy way to share your feelings and help others to understand you better. The format of an “I” message is as follows:
I feel _________ when ______________________ because ____________.
Illegal Drugs     Chemicals that are against the law. For example, marijuana is an illegal drug. If you use or possess this drug, you can face major consequences such as fines and possible jail time.
Implementation Fidelity   The degree to which a program is delivered as intended. As an example, if two prevention educators cover the same material in the same way, this is an example of implementation fidelity. It is important to have implementation fidelity, because it increases the likelihood that the program will achieve the same results, independent of who is implementing the program.
Legal Drugs   Chemicals that people consume that are not against the law. You are allowed to take them. For example, caffeine is a legal drug that is found in coffee, tea, some sodas, and chocolate. If you use caffeine, you are not breaking the law, but your parents/family may not want you to use caffeine because it makes you hyper.  Legal drugs can also have negative consequences. For instance, drinking too much caffeine at night may disturb your sleep. If you have a test the next day in school, you may not be able to concentrate since you did not get enough sleep the night before.
Lose-Lose   A possible outcome of a conflict. This occurs when everyone who is involved in the conflict is unhappy and cannot come to an agreement. For example, you and your sister both love chocolate cake, but there is only one slice left and you both want it. When your family hears you arguing, you are told that neither one of you is getting the last slice.
Medicine   Legal drugs that are used to make you feel better when you are sick. Always have an adult you trust help you take your medicine. If a doctor gives you medicine that is only meant for you, then you should not share this medicine with anyone else. Never take medicine if you are not sick.
Moping   When a person concentrates on feeling upset about a situation that he/she cannot change. Pouting, shouting, stamping feet, slamming doors, pushing people, and throwing things are some things that a person may do when he/she is moping.
Nicotine     The drug that is found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco.

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is a searchable online registry of mental health and substance abuse interventions that have been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers. The purpose of this registry is to assist the public in identifying scientifically based approaches to preventing and treating mental and/or substance use disorders that can be readily disseminated to the field.

Peer Pressure   When someone around your age tries to push you to do something. There are different types of peer pressure:

Positive (good) peer pressure: When someone around your age tells you that you need to wear your helmet when you ride your bike because it protects you and it is the law in NJ.

Negative (bad) peer pressure: When someone around your age tells you to break a school rule.

Spoken peer pressure: When someone around your age is verbally telling you to do something good or bad. 

Unspoken peer pressure: When you feel pressure to make a decision although no one around your age is verbally telling you to do so. For example, your peers may smoke cigarettes and you may feel pressure to smoke cigarettes too, because you want to “fit in”.
Prevention Educator   Individuals who work in the alcohol and drug prevention field. NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. hires prevention educators to deliver Footprints for Life
Primary Prevention   A program or activity that aims at ensuring that substance abuse does not occur. It is a way of preventing the initiation of substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs) or delaying the age at which use begins. Footprints for Life is a primary prevention program because it reaches children while their health-related attitudes, beliefs,
Reinforce   To strengthen. For example, when teachers incorporate the skills learned in Footprints for Life into other class lessons, they are reinforcing these skills.
Research-based program   A program that has been evaluated and shown to have positive outcomes. Footprints for Life is a research-based program because it is based on the Search Institute’s theory for developmental assets and uses role-plays to practice “real-life” skills. Comparison studies have shown that the youth who received Footprints for Life had a significantly larger increase in knowledge than youth who did not receive the program.
Respect   Respect is an attitude that is shown towards others. Being respectful means treating others the way you want to be treated. Showing respect is similar to being polite and using your manners.
Role Play     A situation where students act out roles relevant to real-life situations and practice skills they have learned. Role-plays and the opportunity to practice or rehearse newly learned skills increase the likelihood that people will use these skills in the future.
Search Institute   An independent non-profit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. To accomplish this mission, the institute generates and communicates new knowledge and brings together community, state, and national leaders. At the heart of the Institute's work is the framework of 40 developmental assets that are positive experiences and personal qualities that young people need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
Similarities   Things that are alike; having things in common.
Skill     Something you learn to do well. For example, reading, singing, dancing, writing, running, etc.
Smokeless Tobacco     Tobacco that is not smoked but used in another form, such as chewing tobacco.
Social Competencies   One category of the Search Institute’s internal assets. Social competencies are the life skills that help young people grow up to be independent, capable, and competent. Footprints for Life is specifically designed to build students’ social competencies, which include planning and decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, peaceful conflict resolution skills, cultural competence skills, and resistance skills. Descriptions of these skills are as follows:

Planning and Decision-making : Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.

Interpersonal Competence : Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.

Peaceful Conflict Resolution : Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Cultural Competence : Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.

Resistance skills : Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
Solution Stoplight™     A conflict resolution process that uses the colors of a traffic light. The steps of the solution stoplight are as follows:

Red: Stop at the red light and find ways to calm down, such as counting to ten or taking deep breaths.

Yellow: Slow down at the yellow light. Take turns talking and listening to each other. Use “I” messages to share feelings and explore ideas to solve the problem.

Green: Pick the best idea and go at the green light. Try to get a win-win solution.

Tobacco   A South American herb (plant) formally known as Nicotiana tabacum whose leaves contain 2-8% nicotine and serve as the source of smoking and smokeless tobacco.
Win-Lose   A possible outcome of a conflict. This occurs when one person (or a group of people) is happy and the other person (or group of people) is unhappy. For example, you and your sister both love chocolate cake, but there is only one slice left and you both want it. When you are not looking, your sister eats the slice and you don’t get any.
Win-Win   A possible outcome of a conflict. This occurs when everyone involved in the conflict agrees and is happy with the end result. For example, you and your sister both love chocolate cake, but there is only one slice left and you both want it. You are happy to split the piece of cake in half. Footprints for Life teaches skills that help increase the likelihood of getting a win-win result of a conflict.


Footprints for Life is specifically designed to build students’ social competencies, which include planning and decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, peaceful conflict resolution skills, cultural competence skills, and resistance skills.

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