The perfect after school life skill courses for your child
How life skill courses benefit your child
In our competitive society, many children participate in extracurricular activities after school to gain an edge. These activities are well known to lay the foundation for the development of intelligence, personality, social behaviour and learning capacity, and as vital elements to ensure your child does not fall behind in their development.
Life skill courses are no exception. They give children the tools they need for perceiving or responding to diverse life situations and achieving their personal goals. Participation in quality afterschool programs, frequent interaction with competent adults, and participation in programs using experiential or cooperative learning have all been found to contribute to children's social development and academic success1. Explanations for the process through which after school life skill programs benefit child development range from interaction with competent adults to hands-on learning experiences, the achievement of developmental milestones, growth in self-awareness and social confidence, greater resiliency and heightened engagement2.
Based on a thorough review of academic literature, a working paper from Child Trends identified the following life skills as central to the learning and development of school-aged children: self-control and self-regulation which is linked to academic and socio-emotional outcomes; mastery versus performance orientation which refers to the difference between having learning goals rather than performance goals; persistence despite challenges; interpersonal skills and peer relations which impacts school attitudes; participation and academic achievement; prosocial behavior which can be understood as consideration; concern for and sharing with others; academic self‐efficacy which refers to the belief in one’s capability to complete a task, and academic engagement .
If your child has failed the “marshmallow test” (a hallmark study of self-control which involved testing the ability to delay gratification associated with a toddler's consumption of a marshmallow and which found strong correlations to adolescent academic and social competence, verbal fluency, organizational skills, ability to deal with frustration and stress, even higher SAT scores3), the life skill of emotional regulation can be developed by taking courses that build Character, foster Mindfulness, target the development of Social skills and Study skills, and address the special needs of SEN children (Special Education Needs).
Children get to flex their learning goal muscles when faced with highly practical and hands-on classes such as fun and creative Cooking skills courses, pragmatic First aid programs and behavioural lessons in Nutrition. In response to obstacles, children with a learning rather than performance outlook tend to view challenging situations as an opportunity to acquire new skills or extend their mastery, a response which causes them to seek challenges with positive affect and high persistence.
Perseverance and passion for long-term goals is often the outcome of self-control and a mastery orientation, and has been directly tied to lower anxiety levels4, faster acquisition of milestone skills such as reading5 and found to be even more important than entrance exam scores as a predictor of retention in challenging environments (such as a study of 1,218 freshmen at the US Military Academy, West Point6).
Peer relations in children are important to emotional well-being and mental health but also have ramifications for academic achievement and emotional adjustment. Some studies have observed longitudinal associations between peer acceptance and academic achievement which suggests that interpersonal skills and prosocial behaviours need to be developed early on to avoid negatively impacting school attitudes and academic achievement at a later stage7. Relevant courses to improve peer relations and encourage empathy include classes in Social skills, Character and those designed for SEN children, but might also be the outcome of a group setting where a child is co-operatively learning Financial skills, Cooking skills or even Study skills.
Self-efficacy beliefs directly drive the level of effort a child is willing to contribute to a task, perseverance when confronted by challenges and resiliency when encountering obstacles and therefore are relevant to academic achievement in later years8. And the good news is that studies support the view that improved perceptions of self-efficacy, resulting engagement and achievement can be taught through after school activity programs9.
Given the impact of life skills on school engagement, decision-making, self-awareness and mental health, and the fact they can be taught, it makes sense to ensure any deficits identified in a child are addressed as early as possible. Certainly, life skills are particularly important to have solidified before adolescence as a time of physical and emotional changes, greater academic stress and difficult career decisions.
A wide range of extracurricular life skill classes
Life skill classes for children aren’t just about acquiring a specific skill or knowledge to use later in life, they’re also fun and impact longer term success! Our range of life skill courses cover diverse activities from creative Cooking skills, to community spirit-building Character programs, money management and Financial skills, critical First aid courses, resiliency building Mindfulness classes, healthy Nutrition training, tailored support for SEN children, programs for building Social skills and Study skills and even Parenting skill workshops for you to reach your parenting potential.
While exam preparation and after school study are important for children, giving students the opportunity for a more balanced and holistic learning experience through an after school life skills program can help prepare them for the challenge of adolescence and adulthood!
Bizibuz KnowYourChild™: Find out if your child’s personal and social development is on track
Our unique KnowYourChild™ tools are a series of benchmarking tools for children of different ages designed to track a child’s development, highlight necessary intervention and hidden talents, guide on activities to optimize performance and monitor the efficacy of activities over time.
These tools are developed using advanced algorithms and input from top universities including the Education University of Hong Kong and Polytechnic University and senior teachers from leading institutions including the Chinese International School and Canadian International School.
Our Primary KnowYourChild™ tool is the first of its kind to gauge performance of children aged 6-12 years in non-traditional ‘life skill’ areas such as understanding of economic concepts, personal and social development and awareness of environmental issues. A child is asked a series of questions in these areas that measure their ability to infer, apply given information, use logical reasoning and draw out their emotional maturity. After the child has completed the tool, parents receive a comprehensive report of their child including smart activity recommendations targeted to address either weaker areas (performance more than one standard deviation below the mean) and to foster talents (performance more than two standard deviations above the mean). If the child has previously used the KnowYourChild™ tool, the report also includes development trend analysis in order to reflect on the impact of activities previously undertaken.
Visit our KnowYourChild™ tools in order to further explore your child’s developmental progress and activity recommendations that optimize your child’s life skills.
1. Junge, Sharon K., et al. "Building life skills through afterschool participation in experiential and cooperative learning." Child Study Journal, vol. 33, no. 3, Sept. 2003, pp. 165+. Gale OneFile: Health and Medicine, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A116924602/HRCA?u=anon~eb505d33&sid=googleScholar&xid=7a1def7c. Accessed 2 Mar. 2022.
2. Nina Chien, Vanessa Harbin, Samantha Goldhagen, Laura Lippman, Karen E. Walker. “Encouraging the Development of Key Life Skills In Elementary School‐Age Children” Child Trends, September 2012, #2012-28.
3. Mischel, W., Ebbesen, E. B., & Raskoff Zeiss, A. (1972). Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification. Journal of personality and social psychology, 21(2), 204.
4. Lufi, D. and Cohen, A. (1987). A Scale for Measuring Persistence in Children. Journal of Personality Assessment, 51(2), 178‐185.
5. Newman, J., Noel, A., Chen, R., & Matsopoulos, A. S. (1998). Temperament, selected moderating variables and early reading achievement. Journal of School Psychology. Vol, 36, 215‐232.
6. Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., and Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long‐Term Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92(6), 1087‐1101
7. Ladd, G. W. (1990). Having friends, keeping friends, making friends, and being liked by peers in the classroom: Predictors of children's early school adjustment? Child Development, 61, 1081‐1100.
8. Zimmerman, B. J. (1989). A social cognitive view of self‐regulated academic learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 329‐ 339.
9. Nina Chien, Vanessa Harbin, Samantha Goldhagen, Laura Lippman, Karen E. Walker. “Encouraging the Development of Key Life Skills In Elementary School‐Age Children” Child Trends, September 2012, #2012-28.