Educator's Guide to Enhancing Children's Life Skills
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.
Leah Davies received her Master's Degree from the Department of Counseling and Counseling Psychology, Auburn University. She has been dedicated to the well-being of children for over 44 years as a certified teacher, counselor, prevention specialist, parent, and grandparent. Her professional experience includes teaching, counseling, consulting, instructing at Auburn University, and directing educational and prevention services at a mental health agency.
Besides the Kelly Bear resources, Leah has written articles that have appeared in The American School Counseling Association Counselor, The School Counselor, Elementary School Guidance and Counseling Journal, Early Childhood News, and National Head Start Association Journal. She has presented workshops at the following national professional meetings: American School Counselor Association; Association for Childhood Education International; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Child Care Association; National Head Start Association; National School-Age Child Care Alliance Conference