Teaching social skills is crucial in early childhood development. Learning how to be friends at a young age can keep kids out of trouble promoting positive social interactions into their adult lives. The Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning rates the top emotional intelligence programs in the country based on results. One program that has been successful is PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies.) The program is designed to help youngsters recognize emotions of others and express their own with emotional intelligence lessons. Programs like PATHS serve a preventative function. Because the cost per student is less expensive than juvenile detention and rehab programs later on, finding funding ultimately pays off. Teaching kids social and emotional intelligence skills serves them beyond the classroom into their adult lives.