Cool Tools vividly teaches strategies for handling all forms of conflict and promotes healthy conflict resolution at LFCSA. Cool Tools was created to ensure a caring community in which all students feel safe to learn and play without threats of physical, verbal, or non-verbal harassment of any type. Our goal is to provide students with an internal “toolbox” they can choose from when conflict arises, not just now, but for the rest of their lives. Practice is essential not only for reinforcing the skills they are learning, but also for retention and transfer to new situations at school and at home. This is where you, the parents, can help. Your child is becoming familiar with the terms and concepts outlined below and will benefit from you talking about them.
PUT UPS VS. PUT DOWNS
Put Ups are affirmations, kind words, compliments, smiles, or thumbs-up. In contrast, Put Downs are insults, rumors, threats, unkind words, smirking, or laughing at someone. Put Downs are not okay anywhere at school, and they shouldn’t be okay at home either. Cool Tools teach the 5:1 rule: it takes at least 5 Put Ups to repair 1 Put Down. Squeezing toothpaste from a tube is a good visual that we use at school to explain the concept of a Put Down. Anytime someone says a Put Down, squeeze out some toothpaste. Then ask the person to put ALL of the toothpaste back in the tube. It’s impossible! The children are told to think of a Put Down as the paste—it hangs around with a sticky residue and you can never completely take it back.
BUBBLE OF SPACE
Cool Tools teach children that everybody has a Bubble of Space as the basic principle of being considerate. Keeping their bodies in check and keeping their hands, feet, and other objects to themselves also makes them aware of their own bubbles and how they should be respected by others. Awareness of their own Bubble of Space allows them to situate themselves to anticipate and avoid conflict whenever possible.
Using Exit Shoes are a way to get out of a situation that is not right for you. It is a way to give your child permission to just walk away. When conflict heats up and the chance of compromise goes down, use your Exit Shoes and walk away. It is a cool way to deflate a situation. This tool can be used at home, at school and at the playground. Exit Shoes are a cue to help people stop and think about what they are doing before they act. They allow the person to make a choice and change the situation.
CHOICE OF VOICE
Your child has been taught that there are Cool Blue Voices and Red Voices. The Cool Blue Voice is the one used when communicating calmly and speaking normally. If your voice and tone are Cool Blue, then you’re likely going to deflate a situation and help keep it calm. A Red Voice inflates a situation. Cool Tools suggest that when a Red Voice is coming, take deep breathes—and use those Exit Shoes to walk away and chill out until a Cool Blue Voice is ready to speak.