RESCUR: Surfing the Waves, Sweden

RESCUR: Surfing the Waves is a resilience curriculum to foster the psychosocial development of children in early and primary education (ages 4–12 years). It has been developed as a direct response to the current social and economic situation in Europe. The curriculum seeks specifically to promote the academic, emotional and social learning of children who may be at risk of early school-leaving, absenteeism, school failure, social exclusion and mental health problems, by providing them with key tools to overcome disadvantages and obstacles in their development whilst making use of their strengths. 

The resilience curriculum (RESCUR) has been developed in a European research collaboration within a Comenius project (2012-2015) between 6 European universities (in Malta, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Portugal and Sweden).

It is an educational material aimed at strengthening children and giving them tools to meet and deal with difficult situations, i.e., at strengthening European children’s resilience. The concept of resilience, which is central, refers to the ability to manage crises, changes and stressors without being broken down by them.

(You can read more about the Comenius project at


The RESCUR project in Sweden consists of a RCT study of the Resilience Curriculum (RESCUR) that is taking place 2017–2019. The study is being performed by Junis, IOGT-NTO’s Junior Association, part of IOGT International, in conjunction with researchers at Göteborg, Umeå and Stockholm universities, and is being funded by the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
The RESCUR educational material is presently being implemented and evaluated in Sweden. It is designed to strengthen protective factors and to prevent inter-generational problems related to alcohol and drugs.
Around 1,000 children of the ages 7–12 will, through their schools and associations, or via groups in social services, be part of this implementation and effect study. The effects of the method on protective factors and resilience will be measured using a randomized, controlled pre-post follow-up design in school classes. We will study the effects both statistically and with regard to practical relevance. We will use our waiting list to create a control condition. In this way, we can apply the principle of giving everyone who so wishes the chance of receiving the intervention. Groups in social services will not be randomized.
Children will learn and practice mindfulness, storytelling, group discussions and much more, all designed to strengthen protective factors and increase their resilience. The program also involves parents, who are taking part in the work to reinforce children’s protective capacities.
The study will address the question of what importance the RESCUR program has for children’s development and mental health. It will also consider the issue of whether the program is applicable irrespective of gender, social background and age. Further, it considers how participants in and leaders of the program groups can be recruited and supervised.

(You can read more about the on-going research in a paper published in BMC Public Health: Design and Implementation of RESCUR in Sweden for promotingresilience in children: a Study Protocol)

Six Themes
The curriculum is based on the following six themes, where each theme is divided into sub-themes. Clear goals are described for all exercises, which provide the basis for the practical implementation of the method. The exercises are divided into three optional levels of difficulty (basic, intermediate and advanced level) to ensure that the exercises suit the target group and its needs.
1. Developing communication skills: effective communication, and assertiveness.
2. Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships: healthy relationships, and cooperative skills, empathy and moral reasoning.
3. Developing a growth mindset: positive and optimistic thinking, and positive emotions.
4. Developing self-determination: problem solving, and empowerment and autonomy
5. Building on strengths: positive self-concept and self-esteem, and using strengths in academic and social engagement
6. Turning challenges into opportunities: dealing with adversity and setbacks, dealing with rejection, dealing with loss, dealing with family conflict, dealing with bullying, and dealing with change and transition.

Rescur: Surfing the Waves

It should be stressed that the RESCUR program is not intended to replace actions taken at structural level by municipalities or county councils; successful promotive and preventive work needs to be implemented at many levels and by many different actors. RESCUR is a body of educational material that complements other efforts made by society to provide children and relatives with improved protective tools so that they, in difficult circumstances, can not only handle their situation but also be strengthened by it. In other words, it is about helping children to get the best life chances they possibly can.


RESCUR: Surfing the Waves 
A Teacher’s Guide

Scientific publications on RESCUR Surfing the Waves and RESCUR in Sweden

Cefai, C., Matsopoulos, A., Bartolo, P., Galea, K., Gavogiannaki, M., Assunta Zanetti, M., Renati, R., Cavioni, V., Miljevic-Ridicki, R., Ivanec, T.P., Saric, M., Kimber, B., Eriksson, C., Simoes, C., Lebre, P. (2014). A Resilience Curriculum for Early Years and Elementary Schools in Europe: Enhancing Quality Education. Croatian Journal of Education, 16 (2): 11-32.

Cefai, C., Cavioni, V., Bartolo, P., Simoes, C., Ridicki Miljevic, R., Bouilet, D., Pavin, I., Tea; Matsopoulos, A., Gavogiannaki, M., Zanetti, M.A., Galea, K., Lebre, P., Kimber, B., Eriksson, C. (2015). Social inclusion and social justice: a resilience curriculum for early years and elementary schools in Europe. Journal of Multicultural Education, 9(3): 122-139.

Eriksson, C., Kimber, B., & Skoog, T. (2018). Design and implementation of RESCUR in Sweden for promoting resilience in children: a study protocol. BMC Public Health, 18. Doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-6145-7