Kelso’s Choice is Highlighted at Awareness Connection
Blogger, Michael Gorsline, M.A., Counseling Psychology, of “Awareness Connection” focuses on writing articles to make parenting more rewarding and decreasing stressor spillover into what you care about most. As an elementary school teacher, he realized the usefulness of Kelso’s Choice and incorporated it into his family life. Read on:
When I was teaching elementary school out in Hillsoboro I ran across a copy of a handout that I found very helpful with young kids. It was a black line drawing of the choice wheel above. On it are eight options that visually illustrate what kids can do when they run into problems interacting with other children. I could tell immediately that it was going to be helpful so I did what many new elementary school teachers would do in such a situation: I laminated it. When kids would come in from recess upset about an interaction they experienced on the playground, that they weren’t included in a game they wanted to play, that someone had called them a name or an older kid took their ball, rather than me telling them about possible options, I often would have them take a look at the Kelso’s Choice wheel. Suggestions, like “Walk away” or “Apologize” were illustrated, which left kids able to choose an option that seemed to fit. If you’ve read much of my other stuff, you know that I’m a big advocate of shared control with children and of collaborative problem solving to give kids practice making decisions. Often we’d talk about how they might “experiment” with the option they chose, which took the pressure off from kids feeling like the suggestion had to work. The experience left the kids feeling good about the choices they made about how to go about getting recess to be a more enjoyable experience for themselves rather than walking away feeling that the teacher had solved their problem. You know the saying about teaching to fish rather than simply giving a fish.
Often in my work with parents and children playground, neighborhood or these days, playdate interactions come up fairly often. I found myself wishing I had that old laminated Kelso’s Wheel. After a little looking around on Google I found that Kelso is alive and thriving. He is now available in color and can come along with a complete curriculum and materials package for schools. I got in touch with Diane Hipp, one of Kelso’s co-creators (the other is Barbara Clark), and she was kind enough to allow let me use Kelso’s Choice wheel with permission as a handout in my work with parents and children. I’m glad to have Kelso officially available. He’s helped me assist a good number of kids to master social skills that can otherwise be might have been much more challenging to learn.