Kelso's Choice: Conflict Management Introductory Parent Letter (Please note that while this is the letter from the Kelso's Choice Leader's Guide, adjustments or additions may be made to benefit the designers at Lee Elementary)
Conflict or disagreement is normal and often happens when children get together. However, hurtful words, gestures, or physical attack are unacceptable ways to deal with conflict and disagreement at school.
Our goal is to teach students several positive ways to deal with these difficult situations. To do this, we are asking students who have minor problems to try at least two of the following ideas:
1. Go to another game or activity
2. Respectfully talk it over and listen to each other.
3. Walk away from the problem.
4. Ignore the problem behavior.
5. Tell the person to stop the problem behavior.
7. Make a deal or compromise.
8. Wait to cool off.
9. Share and take turns.
This process can be done before asking for adult help. When a request for adult help is made, it will include the two ideas tried: "Mrs. Jones, Tad is teasing me about my glasses. I tried ignoring him, and I've told him it hurts my feelings when he makes fun of me. He's still calling me names." The playground supervisor at school will get involved and help solve the problem by using our playground discipline plan. Of course, the playground supervisor will immediately handle any serious conflicts that cause a child to feel threatened or frightened.
As students reach 4th grade, they learn to differentiate the verbal choices from the nonverbal choices. Also, students are no longer asked to share and take turns to solve minor problems as they have generally mastered this skill.
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 that to do will help students reduce the stress and number of conflicts they have at school and in their neighborhood.
This program will begin soon at school. 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.