Fourth R for Healthy Relationships


  • Reducing physical dating violence among boys;
  • Reduce acts of violence towards peers;
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of dating violence, substance use and other risky behaviors; and
  • Increasing students’ use of communication skills.

Fourth R logoThe Fourth R Program (R = Relationships) is a comprehensive school-based program designed to reduce violence, substance use, and other risk behaviors. The program is based on the premise that relationship skills are as important to learn in school as the other three R’s (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). The program focuses on building healthy relationships and decision-making skills through interactive teaching methods such as role play. The Fourth R lessons provide a variety of discussion opportunities to process issues with peers and the teacher, as well as opportunities to examine individual beliefs and boundaries.

The Fourth R curriculum was developed in Canada by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Centre for Prevention Science and has been adapted for use in Alaska. The core program contains 21-lessons in three units designed to be implemented by trained school teachers in 7-9th grade health and physical education classes. Age-appropriate lessons focus on important subjects such as: the impact of bullying and harassment, developing skills for healthy relationships, building skills to avoid pressure to use substances, and positive coping strategies.

The Fourth R provides lessons that meet the Skills for a Healthy Life content standards developed by the State of Alaska, Department of Education & Early Development. The Fourth R program also aligns with the performance indicators of all eight of the U.S. National Health Education Standards for grades 9-12.

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The Department of Education and Early Development and the Adolescent Health Program offer free trainings and curriculum to teachers interested in starting a Fourth R for Healthy Relationships program within their schools/districts. Please contact The Fourth R Program staff if you are interested in attending an upcoming Fourth R for Healthy Relationships training.