No matter how much we may wish to avoid them, small problems inevitably arise. And when they do, we have to decide how to address them in an appropriate manner.
In the Elementary School, counselors work with students to build skills to successfully resolve small problems among themselves as part of our approach to social-emotional learning.
“We want to equip students with the tools to help them solve their problems on their own,” shares ES counselor Victoria Potter. “We empower them to think through their small problems before they can escalate into big problems.”
To help with this, counselors have introduced Kelso’s Choice, a character education program whose philosophy posits that all young people are capable of becoming peacemakers and problem solvers with the guidance and support of trusted adults.
As part of this conflict management program, students learn to discriminate between “small” problems that they can resolve using solutions from Kelso’s Choice Wheel and “big” problems that need adult intervention.
The wheel provides students with options for dealing with small problems, allowing them to choose for themselves the best course of action for the situation.
For one ES student, the wheel has not only become a useful guidance tool but also a source of inspiration. First grader Ethan L. has made it his mission to help others solve their small problems using tools he has learned from Kelso.
Ethan recently wrote a book to advise fellow students how to approach problems in an effective and peaceful way.
“If other kids don’t already know about Kelso’s Choice,” Ethan explains, “they can read it and know what to do when they have a problem.”
The ES counselors were so impressed with the thought and work Ethan put into his book that they decided to share it with students in grades one, two and three.
“I felt proud because this is useful,” Ethan responds when asked how he feels about his book being used to help other students learn more about managing problems.
Ethan says that sometimes he likes to carry his miniature Kelso's Choice Wheel with him throughout the school day. So, should a problem arise on the playground at recess, in art class, or in the lunch line, Ethan and his classmates will be prepared to handle whatever comes their way.