As an elementary school counselor, I am always looking for ways to teach my children important life skills. Because my schedule can be quite hectic, it is very important to me to use resources or programs that are easy to implement with very little preparation needed. When I found the Kelso’s Choice program – I hit the jackpot! Kelso’s Choice is an outstanding tool for teaching problem solving strategies to elementary school children. Kelso is a friendly frog who helps children learn the difference between small problems that they can manage on their own and big problems that need to be reported to a trusted adult right away. At the center of the program is Kelso’s “conflict wheel” which is comprised of 9 different problem solving choices that children can use to solve small problems on their own. The Leader’s Guide is full of excellent lesson plans and reproducible activity pages that are easy to implement and they help reinforce the skills being taught. The program also includes a Kelso puppet, a Willow Pond storybook, a Kelso in Action DVD, colorful large conflict wheel posters and a conflict ball. It really is an all-inclusive program!
I absolutely love Kelso’s Choice and I consider it an extremely valuable part of my comprehensive school guidance and counseling program! I introduce these conflict management skills to my first graders. Through a series of engaging lessons, the students are taught the difference between small and big problems and they learn about the 9 problem solving choices. Following the introductory lessons, we spend several more lessons actively becoming good problem solvers. I also begin each school year reviewing Kelso’s Choices in my second-fourth grade classes so they will all be reminded that they can solve little problems on their own…with the help of Kelso, of course! My students, teachers and principal really love this program! It has allowed us to share a common language for conflict management school-wide. In fact, I often hear my principal asking students which one of Kelso’s Choices they could have used to solve their problem instead of choosing to respond with inappropriate behavior! Now that’s evidence that the program is truly making an impact at my school!
I believe the program is successful because it explains conflict management in such a child friendly way. I think that a program is solid when it teaches skills that are easily understood and that can be easily implemented in an engaging manner. Learning these skills truly does empower my students. When children realize that they can handle most of the problems that they encounter on their own, their self confidence gets a huge boost. The teachers and I love the fact that the program reduces the amount of tattling that usually takes place when children are not equipped with the skills to solve their own little problems. I know that the program is effective at my school because children will stop me in the hallway to tell me that they used one of Kelso’s choices to solve a problem! You can just see the pride in their eyes!
I have enthusiastically recommended this excellent program to other school counselors in my school system and they have been equally excited about the impact that it is having and will continue to have in their schools. I know that money is tight for everyone these days and we must make wise decisions when purchasing resources. I truly believe that purchasing the Kelso’s Choice program is honestly one of my wisest school counseling curriculum investments to date.
Elementary School Counselor
Faucett-Vestavia Elementary School, Northport, Alabama
PAY ATTENTION Counselors!…if you need help with disruptive behaviors, conflict, peer relational skills, or problem solving…KELSO is your answer! I have been a school counselor for the last 7 years and I have found nothing works better than the Kelso curriculum in teaching students to understand the difference between a small and big problem, to learn strategies that are on their level, and then to actually implement those strategies in real life situations. With nine strategies taught, each student is able to choose what works for them and their personality. I even tell the kids, as an adult, I am STILL using these same strategies to resolve my own problems 🙂 Kelso’s videos provide real life snippets that the children love and really relate too! I have watched them apply these lessons to their own problems during lunch and recess time. If you teach the curriculum to your younger grades, it’s exciting to see how they recall them years later and Kelso even grows with them…meaning the posters and materials are age appropriate. My older 4th and 5th graders love how the posters change/are updated just for them!! My kinders LOOOOVE the puppets and beg for them to come back! I truly have found that nothing works as well or tackles problem solving head on like Kelso! Do not hesitate to purchase for your school – it will be worth every penny!
Ami Brown, M.Ed
School Counselor, Virginia
Barbara Clark and Diane Hipp’s program, Kelso’s Choice, is an excellent curriculum that focuses on developing the essential social-emotional skill sets which help to boost academic achievement. The program teaches self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making through teaching Kelso’s nine ways to solve problems, referred to as “Kelso’s Choices.” The curriculum is closely aligned with the nationally recognized Second Step Violence Prevention Program that was introduced to the district several years ago. Many schools are not using the Second Step program because there are too many lessons for teachers to deliver to the classroom and the program lacks the visual and tangible tools that help make the lessons part of the school culture. I have chosen to use the Kelso curriculum because it is easily adapted in all K-3rd classrooms, builds a universal language for all students, teachers, parents and administrators, quickly becomes part of school culture and serves as a platform for teaching other essential social-emotional skills. Each K-3rd classroom receives a minimum of eight, 30 minutes lessons to lay the foundation for teachers to continue to support and reinforce the concepts. Ideally, students would receive additional classroom lessons throughout the year to reinforce and broaden their social-emotional intelligence as well as receive small group intervention for additional support in developing these skills.
Elementary School Counselor
Davis County School District, Davis, California
Parents everywhere can use this! I have shared the posters with others who think your program is great and have the posters up on the wall and are implementing the choices daily. One family in particular is, like ours, a family with a special needs child. The visual picture of choices is so good for them. They are preschool age, so some of the choices are above their comprehension. School age children should be able to understand all the choices though. We are adapting the ones they don’t get yet.
I have been using Kelso’s Choice for several weeks now. The book containing stories of Kelso and his friends does a great job of helping children to understand the difference between small problems – ones they can solve themselves and big problems – ones that require help from a trusted adult. This concept alone has helped tattling just about diminish in our home. Our response to the tattler is a gentle reminder asking which Choice they will use instead of getting caught in the middle trying to figure out who did what. Instead of tattling, I now hear my girls telling each other which Choice they are making. It’s awesome.
We have the poster up in a very visible spot. When we first started using Kelso’s Choice, we went to that poster several times a day. My girls really had fun with all the pictures and trying to remember which Choice each one represented. We quizzed them on the choices often and had fun with it. We don’t need to go to it as often now, but it remains in the visible location as a reminder of how to solve problems themselves.
The puppet is a big hit. He adorable and makes the program more “real” in that it is yet another visual aid in helping kids to see what making Choices looks like. We act out scenarios with him and since he is a puppet, he actively participates in his roles! My girls enjoy learning from him in these scenarios. It is so much better than just telling them what to do. With Kelso, we role play what to do.
The Leader’s guide is filled with specific ways to start using this program right away and continue using it so that the Choices become a part of your routine. There are pages in the book to reproduce to further help children get a grasp of solving problems in a healthy way.
We are so pleased with the atmosphere in our home as a result of using Kelso’s choice. This program gave us practical tools to use with our children to teach them how to solve problems all by themselves. It works for them now in their daily living as it also prepares them for handing the problems they will face all their lives.
Thank you for developing this program. It has made me a better parent.
Home School Mother, New Mexico
Group members will learn how to help students become self-monitoring, self regulating individuals by supporting children with implementing the Kelso’s Choice conflict resolution tool. The group will continue the practice introduced last year and support staff and children in becoming proficient in using Kelso’s Choice during any part of the school day. Group members will practice reflective assessment techniques (anecdotal records, checklists, informal observation, classroom tests and self-assessment) to determine if students have acquired the knowledge necessary to use the Kelso’s Choice program effectively. Members will also use role-playing to help students become proficient in using the conflict resolution tool. Reflection will be done by monitoring students ability to identify small versus large problems as well as their ability to identify a number of choices that will help deal with small problems. Group members will reflect on assessment techniques with the use of anecdotal records and group discussions/sharing.
Scarborough School District, Maine
Brandywood Elementary has a number of special programs that support and enhance the educational, social, and emotional growth of our students. Our Kelso Conflict Resolution Program, known as Brandywood ABC’s, is a school-wide initiative that teaches students strategies for developing positive peer relationships, communication with others, solving disagreements and problems, and mediating conflicts. Through classroom lessons, large and small group counseling sessions, and school-wide incentives, students practice and apply Kelso strategies and receive positive reinforcement for appropriate behaviors. “Catch `Em Being Good” tickets and Class Compliment Cards are student favorites and can be redeemed for special privileges from the staff. Brandywood´s proactive conflict resolution, interventionist, and mentoring programs have resulted in a minimal number of reportable offenses. Students learn to work and play cooperatively and to appreciate each other’s special talents.
Brandywood School, Wilmington, Delaware
A longitudinal pilot study undertaken at Eastwood Elementary in Roseburg, Oregon tracked the incidence of severe rule infractions (fighting, intimidation, inappropriate language, illegal acts) during the first four years that Kelso’s Choice was implemented. An 82% decrease in these behaviors was noted. General rule infractions decreased 32% during the same time period.
Eastwood Elementary, Roseburg, Oregon
As Valhalla’s school counselor, I strive to help all students be safe and successful at school. I do this by working with them to build confidence, learn to solve problems, develop friendship skills, and cope with difficulties.
Valhalla Elementary School, Washington
Oak Park School is located in the Sarastoa County District and serves students with a broad range of special needs, ages 3 to 22. Emotionally disturbed students are staff into the most structured classroom settings, with a system of behavior modification utilizing a sophisticated point system coupled with frequent positive reinforcement activities. The goals for these students are to modify behavior and encourage success so that the students can be mainstreamed back into their district school. Deborah Brister works with individual classrooms and addresses bullying issues and conflict management through Kelso’s Choice.
Oak Park School, Sarasota, Florida
We use a non threatening frog puppet to teach children how to solve problems in a peaceful way. Communities need to work together to promote a healthy, nonviolent environment for children from infancy through the teenage years. Teachers who participated in the Kelso’s Choice program during its first year reported a significant
decrease in physical conflicts and tattling.
Meridian Health Educator, New Jersey
We realized a 5% decrease in office referrals for the 2003-2004 school year. We believe this is a direct reflection of the increased awareness of the issues of bullying, harassment and intimidation and the effort to document and report such behaviors. In addition to the somewhat lower number (200 in 2002-2003 and 190 in 2003-2004), we also tracked the actual number of students receiving office referrals. 81 students accumulated 190 referrals with 19 students receiving 4 or more. We realized an increase in the number of students who used Kelso’s Choice to solve small conflicts. Adults regularly heard student dialoguing using Kelso’s Choice vocabulary when referring to what they should and shouldn’t do.
Alice V. Hedden Elementary, Washington
A National Standard Bearer School
Kelso thrives in the halls and classrooms of Fairfield Elementary! We will continue to utilize the Kelso’s Choice Program with our students. Kelso’s Choice: Conflict Management for Children is a powerful tool for children that focuses on empowering children with the ability to determine their own behavior and appropriate problem ownership. Kelso’s Choice assumes that all children are capable of becoming peacemakers. It has been designed to reduce tattling through a proactive approach that keeps small problems from escalating and prevents negative attention-getting mechanisms from occurring. This program also gives students an important conflict
resolution tool which they can use when adults are not available or readily accessible. The focus of classroom guidance lessons has been conflict resolution. I encourage you to become familiar with this program and Kelso’s choices for handling small problems and to try it out at home!
Edmunds Elementary School, Vermont
This uncomplicated, easy-to-teach, conflict resolution program helps young children distinguish between “big” problems which require adult intervention and, “small” problems that they can solve themselves. Nine choices are taught as tools to help children solve problems and conflicts. When reinforced in the classroom, on the playground, and at home, this program empowers children, reduces tattling, and teaches them to make positive choices to resolve conflict throughout their lives.
Byam School, Massachusetts
Staff at this school observed a 75% reduction in fighting and rule violations after Kelso’s Choice was adopted. In-service evaluations of the Kelso’s Choice material and content reflects teacher, counselor, and staff perception of the program.
Park Elementary, Bremerton, Washington
Kelso’ Choice is a problem-solving model. It encourages children to better brainstorm the choices available to them when there is a conflict. Everyone has conflicts. This program helps identify problems they (children) can solve on their own,” she explains. The ideal situation is for each principal and teacher to take ownership of the program, says Gougeon, and integrate the principles into the daily lives of the children, although it is not necessarily in each school in the system. Kelso’s Choice’ can be used by teachers, whether in their classrooms or outside at recess. The program’s philosophy is simple…each child is seen as smart enough and strong enough to resolve conflict and all children are capable of becoming peacemakers. Conflict resolution needs to be seen in all aspects of life. That’s how we make this program – and any kind of program – effective.
Behavioural Services Coordinator, Ontario
We are big on problem-solving at Martin Sortun! This is why I teach Kelso’s Choice, a program that teaches students to identify “big” problems (a serious problem that they should tell an adult about) from “small” problems (problems that they are capable of handling themselves).
Martin Sortun Elementary School, Kent School District, Washington
The Kelso program is a hit with both the 3rd graders and the teachers. The question I get is ‘Why didn’t we have this at the beginning of the year?’ And that is exactly what I plan to do in September – offer this to grades 1 to 3. This is definitely a ‘Keep it simple, make it fun program’ that is perfect for an elementary guidance counselor.
Elementary School Guidance Counselor, Virginia
Kelso’s Choice is a child centered discipline program taught and used in the primary and elementary schools. It helps students take appropriate action to solve small conflicts. It helps children become aware of their own behavior, boosts the children’s self-esteem and promotes positive interaction/communication with one another. The program accomplishes the following goals: teaches self management, increases and improves self-esteem, teaches problem ownership, minimizes tattling, reduces classroom disruptions, strengthens family/school communication.
Nueva Granada, Colombia, South America
By using this plan, we believe that our students will develop effective problem solving skills that they can use again and again. It will help them to deal with conflict in a positive manner and to make appropriate decisions. Knowing what to do will help students reduce the stress and number of conflicts they have at school and in their neighborhood. Colorful charts illustrating ways to deal with conflict will be posted so all children will know their choices. We encourage you to become familiar with this program and use it in your home . By working together, we can develop a healthy life skill for young people to use at home and at school.
Arbor Park Middle School, Blair, Nebraska
All students at Emerald Park will receive annual training with Kelso’s Choice, a program that teaches children to resolve conflicts. The program provides children with ways to deal with difficult situations. When used on a school-wide basis, Kelso’s Choice is proven to be extremely effective. We encourage you to become familiar with the strategies and use them in your home and neighborhood. By working together, we can develop a healthy life skill for young people to use.
Emerald Park Elementary School, Washington
An independent assessment (March 1993) gave the program a good rating with the following comments: Well organized and appears to be easily implemented. It is designed to teach all students to learn skills to be peacemakers. The authors incorporate different learning styles and use a variety of techniques to reinforce the concepts.
Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia
As an elementary school counselor I get to interact with the students in many positive ways in a preventative manner. Each classroom comes to my room for Guidance class every other week. 2nd graders are learning about problem solving through Kelso’s Choice.
Windsor Elementary School, Wisconsin