D.A.R.E. has adopted “keepin’ it REAL” (kiR) as the NEW D.A.R.E. junior high/middle school curriculum. The D.A.R.E.- “kiR” curriculum represents over 20 years of research by the Drug Resistance Strategies Project about why our youth use drugs. Grounded in cultural norms and values, the program provides youth the skills to live drug-free lives confidently, drawing on their strengths and the strengths of their families and communities.
Within “kiR”, the acronym REAL is its central message, providing students with skills to employ in refusing offers to use drugs and engage in other high-risk behaviors -- Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave.
These strategies help youth stay away from drugs by preparing them to act decisively, confidently and comfortably in a difficult situation.
The curriculum teaches students how to say no by presenting practical drug resistance strategies that are easy for them to remember and use. Students also learn how to recognize risk, value their perceptions and feelings, and make choices that support their values.
"kiR” an innovative, culturally-grounded, multicultural curriculum was developed to allow students to recognize themselves in the prevention message. The objective of the “kiR” curriculum is to reduce substance abuse by teaching students and allowing them to practice risk assessment, decision-making, as well as valuable communication and life skills.
The “kiR” curriculum is organized as a 10-week, 10 lesson program. Each lesson requires one 40 - 45 minutes class period and is designed to promote interaction between students and officers. Fun activities are included to involve students in their learning and allow them to exercise "REAL" resistance strategies. The lessons are outlined below.
7th Grade Lesson Outline
Lesson 1: Options and Choices
In this lesson students will identify the keeping’ it REAL resistance strategies of Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave. An introductory video presents an overview of these core resistance strategies. Through class discussion and activities the concepts of options, choice, and consequences are denied with the idea all choices have consequences. Students learn to differentiate between a simple preference and a wise choice.
Lesson 2: Risks
Students will define the term risk and identify risks that could be potentially harmful to them. The Guessing Game is and opportunity to explain how a risk may affect their choices. Through the Guessing Game students are given factual information regarding the actual number of students currently engaging in drug use.
Lesson 3: Communication and Conflict
Students will identify and describe the components of D.A.R.E. Decision-Making Model to make wise choices and sound decisions. They will articulate what it means to agree to disagree and explain the differences between assertive, aggressive, and passive behaviors. A group activity allows students the opportunity to work cooperatively to use the D.A.R.E. Decision-Making Model to solve conflict scenarios.
Lesson 4: Refuse
Students will be able to explain the REAL strategy of Explain and be to state the reason for their actions in a clear way. A video is shown that models this strategy. Through discussion and sharing their own stories, students learn verbal and non-verbal assertiveness techniques for Refusing.
Lesson 5: Explain
Students will demonstrate the REAL strategy of Explain and be able to state the reason for their actions in a clear way. A video is shown that models this strategy. They will use “I Statements” in order to articulate their personal preference and share their opinions or beliefs.
Lesson 6: Avoid
Students will define the REAL strategy of Avoid and be able to list three ways they can avoid a situation. A video is shown that models this strategy. Through discussion, sharing their own stories, and role play scenarios students learn to use the D.A.R.E Decision-Making Model to practice ways to avoid potentially harmful situations.
Lesson 7: Leave
Students will be able to explain the REAL strategy of Leave. A video is shown that models this strategy. Though discussion, sharing their own stories, and role play scenarios students learn to identify situations where they can use the Leave strategy.
Lesson 8: Norms
Students will be introduces to the concept of normative behavior and will be able to define the terms, norms and peer norms. The will identify accurately the norms of drugs use among their peers. Students learn that, contrary to what many of them believe, the majority of students their age do not use drugs. They will be able to explain how norms can influence their decisions.
Lesson 9: Feelings
Students will identify how people express emotions in different ways and that they have unique feelings and reactions to situations. Role play scenarios are used to help students resolve conflict situations and express their feelings in a positive manner. They will learn to acknowledge the validity of their feelings and the feelings of others.
Lesson 10: Conclusion
Students will learn how their REAL skills can be used in their network of friends, family and peers. They will use an ECO-MAP to explain the concept of a social support network and identify members of their personal social support network where they might go for help. The keepin’ it REAL Review offers students the opportunity to review the concepts and skills they have learned in the previous lessons.