Making the leap for peace
Kelso The Frog helpful for conflict resolution

For the last five years, a little green frog has been making an impact when it comes to conflict resolution for children.

For the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, it wasn't really a leap of faith when they decided to introduce the concept to area schools. In fact, the Kelso program has had legs from the beginning, when it first began in American schools.

Sandy Gougeon, behavioural services co-ordinator at the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, says Kelso is a "problem-solving model." "It encourages children to better brainstorm the choices available to them when there is a conflict," says Gougeon.

"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. There is also a Kelso Choices Wheel that helps resolve small issues between students. The wheel lists ways to handle different situations or problems that might come up. The students look at the wheel and pick the best action for a given situation.

Colourful charts illustrating ways to deal with conflict are posted so all children will know the nine choices, and then parents are encouraged to use them in their home.

According to Kelso, there are three kinds of big problems. There are problems that are dangerous (someone could get hurt), there are problems that are against the law and then there are really, really scary problems.

If the problem isn't one of the above then the child knows that they can use one or two or three of Kelso's Choices to work out the problem.

Kelso's Choices are:
   · Go to another game
   · Share and take turns
   · Talk it out
   · Walk away
   · Ignore it
   · Tell them to stop
   · Apologize
   · Make a deal
   · Wait and cool off

The program's philosophy is simple, says Gougeon. "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."








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