Concordia Shanghai Apr 23 2021

Kelso's Choices: Lessons in Problem-Solving

Kelso's Choices is our chosen ES conflict-management curriculum for students that teaches problem-solving strategies; thus, students can ultimately be self-directed and learn how to solve smaller problems independently.  

The curriculum is easily adapted to a variety of settings.  Elementary school counselors teach the Kelso’s Choice curriculum to each class and engage students in a deeper understanding of the strategies that can be used to solve smaller problems. Counselors explain to students when to use Kelso’s choices, and how they can help to solve problems independently. Students learn to discriminate between “small” problems that they can resolve using strategies from Kelso’s Choice Wheel and “big” problems that need adult intervention.


The nine strategies on the Kelso’s Choice Wheel for solving smaller problems are: 

  • Walk away
  • Talk it out
  • Share and Take turns
  • Go to another game
  • Ignore it
  • Tell them to stop
  • Apologize
  • Make a deal
  • Wait and cool off

Students are encouraged to try two different strategies to solve the problem. If neither of the strategies worked, then they should seek assistance from an adult. The nine strategies have now been translated into Mandarin in order to support language learners in understanding and using Kelso’s Choices effectively with peers. Moving forward, Kelso’s choices will include both English and Mandarin. 

“Kelso’s choices helped me solve some small friendship problems and arguments.” Angelina W.

“Kelso’s choices make children more independent and responsible in problem-solving.” Benjamin L.

Teachers, teaching assistants, and parents report that this program has aided students in diffusing and handling conflict at home, in the classroom, and especially on the playground. Having the Kelso’s Choice posters displayed in key areas around the school and also having a small mini-version of the poster on hand has helped to support students whenever and wherever needed. There are many benefits to using Kelso’s Choices with students. 

The key objectives of the program are:

  • To empower students.
  • Reduce tattling on others.
  • To teach students to know when to seek adult help.
  • Provide a cognitive structure.
  • Increase the feeling of personal competence.
  • Give children an important conflict resolution tool with many strategies.
  • Enhance school climate.
  • Prevent conflicts and bullying.

 “We would like our students to be “principled-centered leaders” and to learn strategies and knowledge to problem solve and minimize conflict.  Kelso’s Choices provides Concordia ES students these valuable tools; a life-long-long learning skill which prepares our students for future success.”  ES Counselors