In my early career I was an instructor and branch manager for a large government contract career centre in Vancouver, BC, servicing employable people who happened to be on income assistance. Our mandate was to design, develop and deliver life and employment skills people who were collecting welfare.
This type of business was and continues to be popular because kids who fall short in our current educational system often grow up to be a huge expense to our government in the social services, mental health and criminal justice systems. Health is also affected when we lack life skills as stress is proven to attack our bones, muscles and organs.
I suggest we change two fundamental areas of the current curriculum requirements: Add life skills and forget about the 12 grade tier completely. Throw away the current status quo since it creates such a stressful environment for children who do not succeed in all subjects all of the time.
Leaving social training up to parents isn’t working.
Sadly but realistically many parents lack life skills and pass down their ignorance to their children. There is no point in blaming as all of our coping and life skills are mainly ‘unintentionally’ learned as families blindly struggle to exist without a map to follow.
So we need an overhaul of the entire philosophy and delivery of how we civilize society in a fair system that suits all styles of learning, talents, gifts, and shortcomings. Only, they won’t be looked at as failures anymore — we will have a system where kids can find a path that does work for them.
Example of Life Skills Classes, Suggested Beginning at Age Two:
Hard Life Skills
- Earth Food Production (Gardening)
- Personal Hygiene
- Housework Skills (Time for everyone to be responsible for their home environment don’t you think?)
- Fine and Gross Motor Skills Development (I.E. skills to use every day electronics & physical fitness)
- Creative Mind Development
- Logical Mind Development
Soft Life Skills
- Self Respect
- Stress Management
- Personal Protection (Abuse)
- Communication Skills
- Time Management
- Personal Responsibility & Accountability
- Problem Solving
- Talent Investigation
Of course my ideas are not perfect but I suggest we stop focusing on what our children’s perceived ‘weaknesses’ are compared to the masses and find and develop what their strengths are. A system that advances the student to their official educational program after they have completed foundations for life training. We need a flexible system where we learn curriculum designed to suit our talents, personality, intelligence, and emotional I.Q. Doesn’t this make better sense?
If we are to follow the same rules and regulations out there in the world we need to teach life skills early on and no longer assume all families teach their young way we want our fellow beings to behave around us. I also happen to think all parents could use some parenting education but that’s another blog!
Why a new solution has not been delivered yet is beyond me. In my experience too many people are thinking and believing they are stupid or do not measure up somehow because they did not succeed in the current ridged structure that doesn’t encourage individualism.
Imagine how much better society would be if all children learned social skills before they become social problems. What would it be like for our children in school if they were allowed to develop their innate talents and passions?
Cherylann Thomas, B.Sc.Crim., CH,t
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