Creative Problem Solving

Skills and knowledge related to wellness are critical for social emotional health and academic success. These domains are not separate, but interrelated and critical to the intellectual and emotional development of children and adolescents.

The Society for Research in Child Development found that, “Compared to controls, SEL participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance that reflected an 11-percentile-point gain in achievement.“ (Reference: Child Development, January/February 2011, Volume 82, Number 1, Pages 405–432 The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions.)

Educators need practical activities to implement SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and 21CL (21st Century Learning). A creative problem model that can be taught within a single class period called PIP (Problems – Ideas – Plans) is available to develop related skills of emotional health and wellness. To receive the PIP worksheet, presentation, and lesson, please email

iGROW teens teaching PIP

Practicing PIP in Nigeria

Research indicates that problem solving is an important strategy used in treatment of mental illness and as a coping skill to promote wellness. The PIP is a fun, creative tool for teaching problem solving skills.  It is brief, engaging, and can be used by both children and adults.  The PIP promotes decision making skills of SEL, along with creative (divergent) and critical (convergent) thinking skills of 21st century learning.  There is a direct link between the skills taught through the PIP and the emotional health skills needed to promote wellness in children and adolescents.  These include:

  • Importance of developing and examining multiple perspectives
  • Withholding judgment and criticism in evaluating one’s and others’ ideas
  • Promoting cognitive flexibility – generating many ideas and ways of thinking
  • Promoting collaboration
  • Use of creativity as it is defined by the individual

(Reference: Cognitive Therapy and Research 2008 Volume 32, Pages 227-245, Efficacy of a Problem-Solving Therapy for Depression and Suicide Potential in Adolescents and Young Adults.)


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