Life-long educator Jim Bender has spent his helping local schools and their students succeed. Now he’s using that experience and created Kids Style, a unique character education curriculum to help build community and reduce conflict in schools.
Kids Style is a school-based character education program for children based on TRACOM’s SOCIAL STYLE behavioral preferences model. SOCIAL STYLE has been used by thousands of organizations and millions of people to improve workplace performance since the 1960s. Kids Style is the first effort to widely apply SOCIAL STYLE in elementary education.
“Getting to Know You,” the initial component of the Kids Style series, is geared to third and fourth graders because the social and emotional development of children aged eight through ten involves a discovery of “self.” This leads to a greater awareness of one’s own relationship with others. This developmental stage is well-suited to the concepts of “Know Yourself” and “Know Others” on which SOCIAL STYLE is based.
Originally developed in the 1960s, SOCIAL STYLE is the world’s best-known interpersonal skills model. TRACOM’s SOCIAL STYLE profiles and programs directly develop a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ) capabilities and teach how to put those skills to use in a variety of workplace settings. Numerous independent research studies have shown that people with high SOCIAL STYLE skills outperform others in managerial, sales and individual contributors.
Kids Style offers a resource for children, as well as parents and teachers, that provides a framework of knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the value of worth-based relationships with others. The curriculum provides skills and strategies to help children reduce conflict and stress in their relationships—strategies that will serve them for a lifetime.
“Few of the typical ‘Character Education’ programs delve into the ‘why’ or motivations of personal or others’ behavior—just at the time when, developmentally, children clamor for such meaning,” said Bender. “Kids Style was designed to help children understand that ‘why’ to create more harmonious relationships.”
Demand for character education and anti-bullying programs has increased in recent decades following several high-profile school violence and online bullying cases. Yet such programs compete for limited school budgets.
In an era of unfunded educational mandates and shrinking school budgets, Kids Style offers an economical option to character education with its online delivery. Rather than charge a per-child fee, Kids Style enables teachers to download the storybooks and teacher’s guide. Bender will next develop curriculum for grades one to two and five through seven.
“Kids Style is yet another example of how SOCIAL STYLE skills apply to all human interactions, regardless of age or context,” said John Myers, president and chief executive of TRACOM. “Using Style concepts can help create a productive and healthy school culture, work environment, or family dynamic. Improved relationships can ultimately benefit a whole community.”