Vail School District’s Community Programs offers high-quality programs where children are introduced to academics through essential life skills. The essential life skills are researched based and developed by Ellen Galinsky in her book, Mind in the Making.

  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.  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 others will understand our communications. 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. Children 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.

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