Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Overcoming Obstacles curriculum?

    Overcoming Obstacles is a free life skills curriculum that provides educators with hundreds of lessons to teach elementary, middle, and high school students the skills necessary for success.

  • What are life skills?

    Overcoming Obstacles refers to the skills covered in our K-12 curricula as “life skills” because they lead to the development of competencies in all areas of life. These include social and emotional skills such as relationship building, goal setting, decision making, and empathy, as well as practical skills such as applying to college, looking for a job, and managing finances.

    Life skills also encompasses character education, 21st century skills, mindfulness, human skills, and positive youth development.

  • Why was the Overcoming Obstacles curriculum developed?

    The 1992 United States Department of Labor report, What Work Requires of Schools: A SCANS Report for America 2000, outlined the skills employees need to succeed in the 21st century workforce and how employers and communities could ensure that students learn these skills. In response to this, the Overcoming Obstacles life skills curriculum was developed and, since its inception, it has helped over 230,000 educators across all 50 U.S. states and 160 additional countries teach more than 55 million young people the skills they need to be successful in life.

  • How much does Overcoming Obstacles cost?

    All materials and support provided by Overcoming Obstacles are available through the internet for free, now and forever.

  • How is Overcoming Obstacles free?

    Overcoming Obstacles is a nonprofit organization based in the U.S. that receives support from individuals, corporations, and private foundations. In 2010, Overcoming Obstacles introduced the gifting initiative in the U.S. In 2014, the board of directors expanded this initiative worldwide so the Overcoming Obstacles curricula and support would be available for free to all educators, schools, and school districts forever.

  • Can anyone register for a free account?

    Yes. Overcoming Obstacles is available to anyone who wishes to teach life skills. Simply fill out the registration form and you will be given instant access to all of our materials for free.

  • Is the curriculum research-based?

    Yes. Overcoming Obstacles has been regularly evaluated since its founding in 1992. Most recently, The Riley Institute at Furman University conducted a study among U.S. educators who are teaching the curriculum in their schools.

    For more details about how Overcoming Obstacles is research-based, please contact us.

  • In which settings can Overcoming Obstacles be taught?

    Overcoming Obstacles is taught in a variety of settings, including counseling sessions, advisory periods, after-school programs, in-school suspension, peer mentoring initiatives, and infusion into core content classes.

  • What skills and topics are covered in the curriculum?

    Beginning with communication, decision making, and goal setting skills, Overcoming Obstacles covers more than 25 additional skills, including:

    • Anger Management
    • Bullying Prevention
    • Citizenship
    • College and Career Readiness
    • Confidence Building
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Coping
    • Empathy
    • Financial Management
    • Leadership
    • Perseverance
    • Personal Health
    • Problem Solving
    • Resiliency
    • Respect
    • Responsibility
    • Self-esteem
    • Service Learning
    • Studying
    • Time Management


  • How do I access the curriculum?

    All of our materials are available as PDF downloads after creating a free account. In addition, you can download the “My Overcoming Obstacles” app for free on iOS and Android. With the app, you can access the entire Overcoming Obstacles K-12 life skills curricula directly on your tablet or mobile phone, as well as create your own customized curricula.

  • What are the differences between the elementary, middle, and high school curricula?

    Each level of the curricula covers similar topics, such as problem solving, conflict resolution, and stress management, but does so in an age appropriate manner. The elementary curriculum is divided into two levels: Kindergarten through 2nd grade and 3rd through 5th grade. Both levels are designed to introduce and develop specific concepts and skills that will be reinforced as a child grows. The middle school curriculum presents skills that are relevant to the needs of younger adolescents. The high school curriculum reinforces and develops the same skills with applications that are relevant to the needs of teenagers, and includes lessons on getting into college, employment, and financial responsibility.

  • Does the curriculum have to be taught in a specific order?

    With the exception of the Getting Started and Looking to the Future modules in the middle and high school curricula, the modules can be taught in any order and prioritized according to topic.

  • Is there a way I can support Overcoming Obstacles and ensure more students learn life skills?

    Yes! The best way to support Overcoming Obstacles is to share our website, social media pages, videos, and curriculum with others, letting them know about this free, award-winning resource.

Hundreds of Life Skills Lessons - All for Free!

Create your account today and download all or our free, award-winning K-12 curricula. Start teaching your students life skills through Overcoming Obstacles!

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