Educator's Guide to Enhancing Children's Life Skills
By Leah Davies, M.Ed.
Children learn life skills by observing the adults in their lives. Therefore, if we want children to be socially and emotionally competent, we must be cognizant of our own behavior and accept responsibility for being a role model. Review the following actions and reflect on how well you exemplify them.
- Show genuine warmth, respect and caring
- Model honesty, dependability, and fairness
- Foster a sense of trust and acceptance
- Value individual differences
- Give recognition freely
- Create a peaceful environment
- Provide consistent structure
- Use natural or logical consequences
- Teach problem solving skills
- Have high, but reasonable expectations
- Offer individual attention
- Demonstrate communication skills
- Listen carefully without interrupting
- Discuss feelings openly
- Acknowledge commendable behavior
- Be approachable
- Display a sense of humor
- Provide choices
- Celebrate successes
- Enjoy being with children
- Believe in each child's worth, dignity and ability to learn
- Call children by name
- Understand that mistakes happen
- Give negative feedback privately
- Establish a positive, working relationship with parents
- Participate in worthwhile, community sponsored events
Answer the following questions:
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Think about an educator who was one of your role models. What made him or her memorable?
- Note your opportunities for growth. Name one or more things you will try to do differently.
This self reflection will help you assess yourself as a role model for the life skills you are trying to develop in the children with whom you work.