Children learn life skills at an early age

Children can begin in elementary school to learn how important life skills are, what they are and become prepared for the rest of their life.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H youth programs focus on using life skills as a base for success for youth as they become adults.  Life skills taught at an early age is beneficial for youth as they continue learning into their middle school and high school years. Eventually as adults, they will be able to use what they learned – ideas such as problem solving, responsibility, decision making and making healthy choices to name a few.    The model and concept used in Michigan is the Iowa State University Extension life skill wheel. 

There have been many researched based programming around the U.S. involving life skills and learning at an early age. One of these programs involves the Tauck Family Foundation. By helping children build their life skills beginning in the elementary school years, this foundation has learned how essential it is.

According to Child Trends, a research company, who focused on the Tauck Family Foundation, reported on some interesting findings. This foundation is a private, multigenerational family foundation investing in youth serving orginizations.  Their mission is to invest in the development of essential life skills for children in low-income families in Bridgeport, Conn.  Two reports came out of the research by Child Trends, that identified skills that are important to a child’s development. They are encouraging the development of key life skills in elementary school age children: A literature review and recommendations to those Tauck Family Foundation which provides and indepth review of current research and essential self management skills: Summary of research which report the findings for the general audience.  

Child Trends indentified four self management skills. They are:

  • Self Control – able to get along with others
  • Persistence – ability to stay focused and on task
  • Mastery orientation -  desire to learn, likes challenges
  • Academic Self-efficacy – ability to be effective and perform better overall

The two reports discuss outcomes associated with each skill and strategies for developing the skill.  By teaching these life skills at an early age, children will become empowered to learn.

For further information on youth and life skill development, please visit the MSU Extension.

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