About Take Ten

What is Take Ten?

Take Ten is a skills-based, violence prevention program that provides students with positive alternatives to violence. It teaches students basic conflict resolution skills and encourages them to think before they act, building their capacity to make more informed choices when faced with a conflict. Rather than respond violently to conflict, students are encouraged to “Talk it Out, Walk it Out, or Wait it Out!” To:

“Take Ten deep breaths …” rather than say something that hurts. Or
“Take Ten steps back …” instead of getting involved in a fight. Or
“Take Ten seconds to think …” about what you are doing so that you don’t use something as a weapon.

What is conflict?

Definition—a disagreement between two or more people. If dealt with correctly, conflict is an opportunity for positive change in a relationship. Conflict is an inevitable part of life.

What is violence?

Definition—causing physical or emotional harm to yourself, another or to your surroundings. Intent to cause that harm is an important element. (Key question—How is the act perceived by the person on the receiving end?)

Values and Principles

How we live our lives—what we think is good and important in our life—and rules by which we live our lives.

Take Ten Ground Rules: How we treat each other:

  1. Everyone has the right to speak.
  2. No one must speak.
  3. Everyone must listen.
  4. No put downs … No name calling.
  5. Disagree on issues—don’t attack people.
  6. Agree to disagree.
  7. Keep a sense of humor at all times.

Take Ten Principles:

  • Every person has the right to safe, violence-free places.
  • School should be a violence-free zone.
  • Disagreements and arguments are normal and to be expected.
  • Every person has the right to feel however they feel.
  • No one has the right to hurt someone or destroy something because of the way they feel.
  • Weapons have no place in solving conflicts in school.
  • Every person has the right to choose how they will solve problems and express themselves.
  • TALK IT OUT, WALK IT OUT, WAIT IT OUT and knowing when to get help can work in a violence-free zone.
  • People have the power to decide if a place shall be a violence-free zone, a TAKE TEN area.
  • There is a connection between respect, personal power, and self-esteem.


Themes and Skills taught in the curriculum:

  • Understanding Conflict and Violence
  • Our Values and Principles
  • Fair and Assertive Behavior
  • Emotion Recognition and Anger Control
  • Effective Communication
  • Problem Solving Steps
  • Trading Perspectives and Solutions (2 chapters)
  • Knowing When to Walk Away


Implementation of Take Ten:

Notre Dame students and community volunteers work in teams assigned to schools and other community locations. The teams visit each school once per week at a scheduled time.


Teachers are trained to implement Take Ten in their classrooms and work with their students on the Take Ten lessons.

  • The Notre Dame students and community volunteers or teachers work through the curriculum with students in all grades, teaching the skills to practice Take Ten.
  • In high schools, Take Ten volunteers also work with peer mentors on how to teach or share the lessons, with the freshmen assigned to them for mentoring.
  • At the end of the school year, we evaluate our efforts and have a gathering with the students to celebrate.

Mission statement

“To promote choices and strategies that cultivate nonviolent communities.”

“Many who live with violence day in and day out assume that it is an intrinsic part of the human condition. But this is not so. Violence can be prevented.” -Nelson Mandela


In 1995, ANNE PARRY from Chicago decided to address the issue of school violence with a fresh approach and created TAKE TEN – a slogan that encourages children to TALK IT OUT, WALK IT OUT, WAIT IT OUT rather than engaging in violent behavior. Take ten deep breaths instead of saying something that hurts; take ten steps back rather than getting involved in a fight; and take ten seconds to cool off instead of using something as a weapon. TAKE TEN is simple: it is a short positive phrase that provides children with a common language to demonstrate their choice for nonviolence. Take Ten is an outreach project of the Robinson Community Learning Center.


The goals of TAKE TEN are to reduce violence, prevent violence and to teach children positive alternatives to violence. Violence is defined as anything that causes harm, physical or emotional, to oneself or another living being, place or thing. The objective is to shift what is acceptable and expected behavior in society today, namely violence, to attitudes and behaviors that expect and teach nonviolence. In order to obtain these goals, TAKE TENvolunteers work with children to teach them skills to “Talk it Out, Walk it Out, and Wait it Out.” By providing children with these skills, children are better equipped to think before they act when faced with a conflict that may result in violence.

TAKE TEN gradually becomes ingrained into the psyche of the school and schools have reported that a fundamental social change occurs after TAKETEN is integrated into their culture.