Conflict is inevitable during the course of children’s play, whenever they become frustrated or angry. This does not mean children are bad, selfish, or mean. They simply have not yet learned how to interpret social cues, understand other viewpoints, or match their behavior to the situation. To help children learn how to work out their disagreements together, HighScope teachers are trained to use a six-step process to solve problems and resolve conflicts:

1. Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions or language — A calm manner reassures children that things are under control and can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.
2. Acknowledge feelings — Children need to express their feelings before they can let go of them and think about possible solutions to the problem.
3. Gather information — Adults are careful not to make assumptions or takes sides. We ask open-ended questions to help children describe what happened in their own words.
4. Restate the problem — Using the information provided by the children, the adult restates the problem, using clear and simple terms and, if necessary, rephrasing hurtful words.
5. Ask for ideas for solutions and choose one together — Adults encourage children to suggest solutions, helping to put them in practical and concrete terms. We accept their ideas, rather than impose our own, thus giving children the satisfaction of having solved the problem.
6. Give follow-up support as needed — Adults help children begin to carry out their solution, making sure that no one remains upset. If necessary, we repeat one or more steps until all the children return to their play

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