What is TOOLBOX™?


TOOLBOX is a Kindergarten through 6th grade program that supports children in understanding and managing their own emotional, social, and academic success. The foundation of TOOLBOX is 12 human capacities that reside within all of us. Through its simple and profound metaphor of Tools, TOOLBOX brings forward a set of skills and practices that help students access their own inner resilience at any time, in any context.

The 12 Tools

Breathing Tool
Quiet/Safe Place Tool
Listening Tool
Empathy Tool
Personal Space Tool
Using Our Words Tool
Garbage Can Tool
Taking Time Tool
Please & Thank You Tool
Apology & Forgiveness Tool
Patience Tool
Courage Tool

Children learn 12 simple yet powerful Tools. With practice, these Tools become valuable personal skills: self-awareness, self-management, and relationship-building which, in turn, foster responsible decision-making. Because the techniques are simple and the language is shared, children adopt the Tools and master them quickly. TOOLBOX begins with a teacher providing instruction on how to use the Tools. Through modeling and daily classroom practices, the teacher subsequently supports his/her students to use the Tools to build self-knowledge and self-trust. Schools note rapid improvements in communication, civility, and conflict resolution in the classroom, on the playground, and across the entire school community. Providing parents and caregivers with the Tools and information on how to incorporate the practices into the home setting allows for continuity and reinforcement of skills for students.

Download our four-page TOOLBOX brochure.

Download the TOOLBOX Key Principles Flyer.

What is Social and Emotional Learning and Why is it Important?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning (SEL) as “the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” CASEL has identified five interrelated social and emotional competencies: self-management, self-awareness, social-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Importantly, it is well established that these skills can be taught and learned, they facilitate academic learning and also support long term success in school, work, and relationships. Both common sense and decades of research tell us that children cannot learn until they feel safe and are able to understand and manage their emotions and social interactions.  Additionally, well designed, well implemented social and emotional learning programs can result in numerous important outcomes for students. Including:

  • Scoring an average of 11 percentile points higher on standardized achievement tests over peers not receiving social and emotional learning programming
  • More positive social behaviors and attitudes
  • Fewer conduct problems
  • Lower levels of emotional distress

—Child Development, January 2011

Furthermore, a recent benefit-cost study by Columbia University economists showed, on average, for every $1 dollar spent on implementing a social and emotional learning program $11 in costs to society were saved.

For more information on social and emotional learning check out our “Resources” page.

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