Team Magic met during the months of November and early December in 2016. Our group was made up of teachers, parents, foster parents, and even a grandfather. All of us gathered together to share and learn from each other. Our topics were the 7 Essential Life Skills outlined in Ellen Galinsky’s book, Mind in the Making.
Ellen Galinsky states, “These skills weave together our social, emotional, and intellectual capacities. They help us go beyond what we know and tap our abilities to use all that we have learned in these different areas. It’s important to understand three essential points about these life skills:
It’s never too late to help children learn these skills, no matter how old they are.”
Overview of life skills
1 Focus and self-control. This skill allows children to achieve their goals in a world filled with distractions and information overload. It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self-control.
2 Perspective taking. This goes beyond empathy. It involves figuring out what others think and feel, and it forms the basis of children understanding their parents’ and teachers’ intentions. Children who can take others’ perspectives are much less likely to get involved in conflicts.
3 Communicating. It’s much more than the ability to speak, read and write. It’s the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others. It’s a skill that teachers and employers feel is most lacking today.
4 Making connections. It’s the core of learning: what’s the same, what’s different. And the ability to make unusual connections is at the core of creativity. In a world where information is so accessible, people who can see these connections will be successful.
5 Critical thinking. It is essential for the ongoing search for valid, reliable knowledge to guide our beliefs, decisions, and actions. It involves developing, testing and refining theories about “what causes what” to happen.
6 Taking on challenges. Life is full of stresses and challenges. Kids who are willing to take on a challenge (instead of avoiding it) will do better in school and in life.
7 Self-directed, engaged learning. We can realize our potential through learning. As the world changes, so can we–if we continue to learn for as long as we live.
Through the process of facilitated learning, participants of Team Magic explored each of the 7 life skills critical to executive functioning and had a wonderful time while doing so. As an infant mental health therapist and early brain development enthusiast, it was so exciting to see how engaged everyone was sharing stories, ideas, feelings, and visions. Many shared in the final session how important this training was to them, and how it will impact the development of their own 7 essential life skills so they can better support these essential life skills in their own children and the children they work with and care for. The impact of this training in our community is huge. I can’t wait to facilitate my next session!