By GreatSchools Staff
Across the country, support programs have sprouted up to provide girls with tools to change their behaviors. With names like Owning Up, Girls Circle, the Ophelia Project, Salvaging Sisterhood, Full Esteem Ahead, these programs — provided by schools and community organizations — help girls realize the destructive power of cliques and learn how to form more positive, supportive relationships with their peers.
Girls meet with counselors in small groups to talk about their "issues": body image, dealing with boys, eating, risky behaviors, feelings and attitudes about themselves. The discussion might start with something as simple as their hair or makeup, but soon leads to the topics of gossip and spreading rumors to make girls conscious of their behavior toward other girls. Girls learn team-building skills, how to diffuse their anger and manage conflict.
The Girls Circle program, founded in 1997 by Beth Hossfeld and Giovanna Taormina, is a program for girls ages 9 to 18. Their program, now used at more than 1,000 sites across the country, leads girls through a series of 12 activities that help them "move beyond cliques and toward empowered sisterhood." The founders believe that girls are by nature relational beings and that healthy relationships are central to their emotional growth. The program challenges the notion that some girls are inherently "mean girls." Through creative activities and guided discussions, the program helps girls recognize their strengths, provides them with a place for safe relationships and helps them "get to that sisterhood that has helped girls through the ages."
"Girls tend naturally to engage in indirect relationships," says Beth Hossfeld. "If something is bothering them about someone, they will go tell someone else rather than confront that person directly. In Girls Circle, we practice the approach of being direct in communication. We've found that girls can get distracted by a barrage of issues. When they have a place such as Girls Circle to discuss them, they can come up with their own solutions, feel more confident about themselves and can focus better on their schoolwork."
Julia Taylor's curriculum guides, Salvaging Sisterhood and Girls in Real Life Situations, contain discussion questions, role-play suggestions and creative activities that can be used by small groups in schools and community programs to foster better communication and positive relationships among girls. Taylor wrote these books because in her counseling work she realized, "How girls were treated at school by other girls affected their whole lives into adulthood. Relational aggression can make or break a girl's childhood. When I work with girls, I emphasize the positive and how they can help each other."
One of her group activities in Girls in Real Life Situations is called "The Boiling Point." On a diagram that contains a thermometer and a clipboard, each girl writes down what makes her angry and what helps her cool off. The girls talk about what happens when a pot of pasta or rice boils or boils over. Then they compare how anger and tempers are similar to boiling water. They learn to recognize the signs that anger is beginning and how to control it, and share their personal boiling points and cooling off tips.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.