School Age
For Kindergarten to Grade 8, Tools for Life is a Social Emotional Learning resource that is not an add-on but rather an enrichment of activities embedded within the current curriculum.

Creating a positive classroom where learning takes place

When provided with specific Strategies and Tools to identify and control their emotions, students are better able to cope with stress and persevere even in the face of academic and social setbacks and challenges. And when children can understand the thoughts and feelings of others, they have more positive interactions with friends and family, more rewarding involvement with school, participate more in the classroom and are more accepted by classmates. 

Tools for Life Resources for Kindergarten to Grade 8

  • The Tools for Life teaching/learning model from Kindergarten to Grade 8 is underpinned by a number of evidence-based research initiatives, including CASEL and Search Institute. 
  • Children are encouraged to explore, recognize and experience their feelings and behaviours in many different situations. As they do so, they begin to label them more accurately and precisely, recognizing their triggers, their impulses, their thought processes, and their impact on others.
  • Each new Skill is broken down into concrete, teachable steps, and educators are encouraged to support students in their application of certain relationship-building Strategies and specific problem solving Tools in every possible teaching moment … all day, every day.
  • Click on the age group below to see what’s included in each resource kit.

Kindergarten

Informed by the Ontario Ministry of Education research-based document, The Kindergarten Program 2016, the Tools for Life Full-Day Kindergarten Resource closely aligns with the Program’s four frames, the conceptual understandings and a number of the Overall Expectations. Many of the high-yield teaching strategies that are foundational in the Kindergarten Program are reflected in the Tools for Life FDK approach.

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Grades 1-2

From the start, Tools for Life uses a
common language embracing all cultures that is easily understood and allows everyone self-expression and consistent ways to work out conflict. While social emotional learning concepts are still primarily oral in nature, educators can decide on
the readiness of the class for particular guidance or coaching activities based on reading and writing levels.

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Grades 3-4

Children at this grade level have ample opportunity to advance their skills in areas such as co-operation, goal-setting and problem-solving. Children are supported while they try out, evaluate and personalize certain life Strategies and specific Tools which promote their resiliency, confidence and emotional well-being. They are encouraged to examine a positive, inclusive world view.

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Grades 5-6

The approach in this Resource is to provide maturing learners with an age-appropriate environment where healthy relationships are seen as attainable by all, and creative solutions to life’s unexpected challenges can be navigated collaboratively. Children increasingly interact through scenario development and role-play to express their feelings and better understand concepts of empathy.

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Grades 7-8

Students are ready to examine and tackle cultural stereotypes and gender bias. They examine the nature of conflict escalation and develop self-calming techniques. They learn how to ‘look for’ self-projections, body language clues or masked feelings, and how to move from a defensive stance to a cooperative stance. Their own personal map with Strategies and Tools helps them de-escalate emotionally charged situations and build trust and respect in their relationships.

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What educators and administrators are saying…

Our board is using the Tools for Life approach in all of our Kindergarten to Grade 6 classes and we have had great success throughout the grades. It is so rewarding when educators hear students using the Tools for Life language as they negotiate their understanding of how to self-regulate, make wise choices, build resilience and share in a community of healthy relationships.

Deb Watters, Program Coordinator, Wellington Catholic District School Board. Guelph, Ontario

One of our fourth grade students eagerly shares with students and adults how Tools for Life “saved his life”.  He often shares with others how he was sent to the office almost daily for his behavior.  However, after being introduced to Tools for Life, his behavior has changed, and his academics have improved as well.  Now he is a role model for his peers.

Dr. July Ealy-Harris, Counselor, Galloway Elementary School, Jackson MS

I have been using Tools for Life in my Kindergarten class for the past five years. Our classes are a blend of JK/SK and we have the children for two years. I love that this program is helping to provide children with the Strategies and Tools they need to work through problems and situations, and build healthy, positive relationships. These skills will stay with them for a lifetime!

Karen Lombard, Kindergarten Teacher, Guelph ON

My motto for teaching for the past 30 years is: “If my students can’t learn the way I teach, I must teach the way my students can learn”. I often share with other teachers my teachable moments when Tools for Life was there to support my students.

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Rose Sanford Wright, Grade 8 Teacher, Jackson Public School District, Jackson MS

“The Tools for Life philosophy is embedded in our whole day,
in everything we do.”

Flora Nordoff, Principal, St. Matthew Catholic Elementary School, Binbrook ON
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Professional Development

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