Kelly Bear C.A.R.E.S Program






Kelly Bear Character And Resiliency Education Skills (C.A.R.E.S.) Program is a multimedia, universal prevention program for use in kindergarten through third grade. Its goal is to prevent problem behaviors in young children by teaching essential skills that strengthen healthy development. Professionals agree that it is critical to assist young children in learning prosocial attitudes and behaviors. If antisocial actions are not remedied early, children are more likely to develop delinquent behavior later. This cost-effective, developmentally appropriate, educational curriculum is used with large or small groups of children. It encompasses the Drug Awareness Prevention Program (D.A.P.P.) which has been field tested, researched and proven effective.

This innovative curriculum is a logical beginning for a comprehensive, K - 12 prevention program. It requires no additional leader training and may be presented by counselors, prevention specialists, after-school program leaders, or teachers. It contains an easy-to-use, self-explanatory Instructor’s Manual with sixteen detailed lesson plans, evaluation forms for each child, teacher, and parent, plus reproducible handouts. Other materials included are five books, seven videos, a Leader’s Guide for the video series, three CD-ROMS, a cassette of character-building songs, four posters, 100 stickers, and a kelly bear hand puppet. The program is flexible, but is usually taught in fifteen sessions, thirty to fifty minutes each, followed by a parent involvement segment.

The prevention strategy used in Kelly Bear C.A.R.E.S. involves two-way communication between the leader and the children. The interactive teaching methods include discussing, singing, acting-out role plays, completing activities, and watching videos. The main character in all the materials is a green bear named Kelly, who serves as a teacher, hero, friend, and positive role model for children. Kelly Bear is free of racial, ethnic, religious, age, disability, cultural and sex role bias. Children eagerly identify with a green bear who makes mistakes but who keeps trying to do his best.

Parents, relatives or others who care about the well-being of each child are invited to attend he Parent Program that serves to strengthen bonds within families and link homes, schools and communities. During the program the children demonstrate the skills they have learned. Through observation and discussion the significant others in a child’s life are encouraged to reflect on their own behavior and to reinforce the concepts presented with their child. Parents are challenged to model prosocial behaviors and to build a positive adult-child relationship. To strengthen their commitment they receive The 8 L’s of Parenting, The ABC’s of Parenting, 10 Ways to raise children to USE Drugs, and the Kelly Bear Feelings book or the series of three Kelly bear books (optional). When adults listen to their child answer Kelly Bear’s questions without judgment and relate to him in a caring manner, the child’s essential need to feel valued and secure will be met and prosocial behavior will more likely occur.


Kelly Bear C.A.R.E.S. is a research-based program designed to reduce the following family, school and individual risk factors:

  • Family: Negative parental attitudes toward the child.
  • School: Early, persistent antisocial behavior.
  • Individual: Lack of self-control, conduct problems, low level of school competence.


The goals of the program are to increase protective factors in the family, school and child.

  • Family: Enhance family bonding by fostering a positive parent-child relationship.
  • School: Increase children’s prosocial skills and foster student-school bonding.
  • Individual: Enhance children’s self-respect, self-control, problem solving, and social/emotional interaction skills (see specific list below under #3, Short-Term Outcomes.)


  1. Ninety-four percent of the parents responded that the Kelly Bear C.A.R.E.S. Curriculum helped and/or will help them build a more positive relationship with their child.
  2. Eighty-seven percent of the thirty teachers/leaders reported that the Kelly Bear C.A.R.E.S. Curriculum presentations helped them identify ways to foster their student’s prosocial skills and school bonding.
  3. The self-reports on the Child Evaluation Form completed by 498 children representing four schools and the Madison Center for Children indicate that a majority of children learned the twelve prosocial skills and attitudes represented by the protective factors listed. The total percentages of correct answers varied from 81% to 94% based on the responses of all the children.

The results from thirty teachers/leaders on the Teacher Evaluation Form substantiated that the majority of their participating students increased their knowledge, attitudes and skills in the following protective factors:

  • Self-awareness and self-respect
  • Emotional understanding of self and others
  • Social competence and constructive peer relationships
  • Empathy and kindness toward others
  • Problem solving and anger management skills
  • Respect for individual differences
  • Healthy living choices
  • Perseverance and resiliency
  • Refusal skills
  • Personal safety
  • Character traits such as honesty and responsibility

The Kelly Bear C.A.R.E.S. Curriculum (Character And Resiliency Education Skills) provides a strong foundation for a comprehensive, kindergarten through twelfth grade prevention program. The Short-Term Goals of effectively increasing the protective factors in families, schools and in children were met.


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