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Red Cliff Wellness School Curriculum

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The Red Cliff Wellness School Curriculum is a substance abuse prevention intervention based in Native American tradition and culture. Designed for grades K-12, the curriculum aims to reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors related to substance use, including school bonding, success in school, increased perception of risk from substances, and identification and internalization of culturally based values and norms. The Red Cliff program is taught by teachers who have been trained in interactive, cooperative learning techniques and facilitation. The manualized curriculum has separate components for grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-12. Each component includes 20-30 developmentally appropriate lessons and activities designed to enhance the values of sharing, respect, honesty, and kindness and to assist students in understanding their emotions. Small-group discussions (described as "talking circles" in Native American terms) are extensively used, along with small-group process activities, independent workbook activities, and collaborative projects for older students.
The school curriculum was created by the First American Prevention Center, an arm of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The curriculum is part of a broader wellness initiative that includes a community curriculum and home wellness kit. The research reviewed in this summary involved only the elementary school component (grades 4-6) of the K-12 program.