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Message from Kharma Hicks: Life Skills

If someone were to ask you to think about some words to describe what life is like today, what words would come to mind?  Would you focus on words like “stressful,” “nonstop,” “not having enough time, with too much to do?”  Did you think about the moments that bring you joy, large and small, or did you focus on the uncertainty of life and the changing relationships?   Life can be all of these things for adults and is only going to be more so for our children.  Here at PIC, we would like our children to not only survive in this world but thrive today and in the future.  Along with the the readiness skills needed for a successful school experience,  children also need life skills.  Based on the work of Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute (FWI),  there are seven essential life skills that all children need to get through life.  These skills are outlined in Galinsky’s acclaimed book The Mind in the Making, The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs  and are as follows:

Focus and Self Control are needed in order to achieve their goals, especially in a world that is filled with distractions. It involves paying attention, remembering the rules, thinking flexibly and exercising self-control.

Perspective Taking involves figuring out what others think and feel, and forms the basis of children understanding their parents’, teachers’ and friends’ intentions. Children who can take others’ perspectives are also much less likely to get involved in conflicts.


Communicating is the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how our communications will be understood by others.  In other words, reflecting upon what to communicate and what inhibites one’s point of view.


Making connections is at the core of learning—figuring out what’s the same, what’s different and sorting these things into categories.  In a world where people can Google for information, it is the people who can see the connections who can go beyond knowing information to using this information well.

Critical Thinking is the ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions and actions.

Taking on Challenges Life is full of stresses and challenges. Children who are willing to take on challenges (instead of avoiding them or simply coping with them) do better in school and in life.

Self- Directed, Engaged Learning helps us all realize our potential. As the world changes, so can we, for as long as we live — as long as we learn.

This fall we hope to begin “brown bag” sessions for our teachers to discuss the seven essential life skills and share ideas for how we incorporate these skills at PIC in all of our age groups. We know that with an intentional focus on fostering these  lifelong skills, in addition to what we do each and every day, we will enrich every child’s experience at PIC and prepare them for the future.  We look forward to exciting and valuable conversations ahead!