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Life Skills

Life skills are an integral part of our community at Meadow Heights.  We work hard to teach children the necessary skills to find success in social, emotional, as well as academic situations.

Teachers work hard through out the year to integrate a monthly life skill focus into classroom curriculum to strengthen our school-wide success.

Your support at home makes a big difference. Thank you so much for all you do!

Four times a year, we also have a Life Skills assembly with Soul Shoppe.  For more information on Soul Shoppe, please visit their website at:  www.soulshoppe.com

Life Skill of Kindness

Kindness is… the quality of being thoughtful, friendly, generous, and considerate; considering the needs of others.

What It Looks Like

  • thinking about how our actions might make someone feel
  • leaving enough of something for others
  • helping someone up from a fall
  • asking someone if they are okay
  • offering to help someone with a chore or task
  • helping others when they are stuck
  • sharing
  • volunteering your time to help
  • being friendly to someone you don’t know well
  • giving a compliment; telling someone how nice they are; making someone feel important

Activities to Do In Class or At Home

  • review definition and discuss what it “looks like”
  • write about a time someone was kind to you and how you felt
  • homework connection
  • draw
  • discuss / interview with parents or family
  • Catch ‘Em In the Act – award with verbal praise or “Caught Being Kind” Cards

Literature Link

  • A Chair for my Mother, Vera B. Williams
  • Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
  • Her Father’s Garden, James Vollbrach
  • King of the Golden River, John Ruskin
  • Kids' Random Acts of Kindness, Conari Press
  • The Recess Queen, Alexis O’Neill
  • Way of the Circle, James Vollbrach

Life Skill Empathy

Empathy is… considering how you would feel in someone else’s situation; taking time to imagine the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of another.

What can parents do to help their children develop empathy?

Set an example

The best thing we can do as parents is be an example. When children have a problem, try to see things from their perspective. When they see you act with empathy, they are likely to copy you. You can also show them by being empathic with other people in their life.

Create a loving home

When a child feels safe and happy at home, knowing their parents love them, they are less self-centered. When their own needs are met, they are more likely to think of others before themselves. Tell your children you love them; listen to them and give them your attention. When parents listen, their children learn to have more empathy. Spend time with your children by playing games with them and reading to them. Being able to connect to others is a skill that helps them be empathic towards others.

Give service

One activity for any age to build empathy is to give service. Helping at a soup kitchen as a family helps your children see other ways of life, |helping them to build empathy towards those who are less fortunate. You can also leave cookies anonymously for someone you know who has been down. The point is to encourage your children to help others; even if they do not feel empathy at first, it will grow as they do it.

Spend time with animals

Another great thing for children is to have experience with animals. Learning compassion and caring for animals encourages the development of similar feelings in dealing with children.

Encourage them

Positive reinforcement of empathy is also helpful. You can say, "I really appreciate how you shared your crackers with Sarah when she didn't have any. That was very nice of you."  Helping the child to see that you approve of their behavior will encourage them to be empathic in the future.

Role play

You can help your kids practice empathy by using role-play. This is as simple as asking, "How would you feel if someone did that to you?" or reading them a story and asking them to describe the feelings of the characters.

Read with them

Read stories together and talk about the characters’ feelings and situations. Learning to recognize the feelings of other people is important to showing empathy. Many stories have a theme about helping others or being empathic. You can even look through the books your child already has to find books that teach empathy. By listening to any story, children learn to see a situation from another's point of view.

(Taken from an article Written by Kaitlin M. Miller, Research Assistant, and edited by Laura Padilla-Walker and Stephen F. Duncan, professors in the School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, http://foreverfamilies.byu.edu)

Literature Link

  • Always Room for One More by Sorche Nic Leodhas
  • Angelica’s Wish by Annette Menniti Campbell
  • Be Quiet, Marina! by Kirsten Debear
  • The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jennifer Wojtowicz
  • Buddy Unchained by Daisy Bix
  • Masai and I by Virginia Kroll
  • Priscilla McDoodlenutDoodleMcMae Asks Why? by Janet Mary Sinke
  • Storm Boy by Colin Thiele
  • Teaching Children Empathy, The Social Emotion: Lessons, Activities and Reproducible Worksheets (K-6) That Teach How to "Step Into Others' Shoes,"  by Tonia, Ph.D. Caselman
  • We're All In the Same Boat by Zachary Shapiro

Life Skill of Integrity

Integrity is... showing a strong commitment to the truth, no matter the consequences; being true to one’s beliefs, morals and principles; doing what is right even when no one is looking.

What integrity might look like at school or at home

  • Telling the truth, even if you might get in trouble.
  • Standing up for what is right, even if your friend or family might disagree.
  • Only saying true things about yourself.
  • Making a good choice even when no one is looking.
  • Keeping your eyes on your own paper.
  • Following the rules even if no one is there to tell you.
  • Asking to borrow things that don’t belong to you, rather than just taking them.
  • Doing your homework even if no one is watching you.
  • Returning something you found to the office.
  • Listening to your heart… doing what is right, even when it is hard.

“If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.”- Mark Twain

“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions.” - Lillian Hellman

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s  going to know whether you did it or not.” - Oprah Winfrey

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”- Sigmund Freud

Life Skill of Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness  is…  the ability to find answers to questions using the resources available; finding creative solutions to problems.  

A resourceful person seeks answers to his/her questions by using his/her surroundings, prior knowledge, etc.  A person with a resourceful attitude does not give up until he/she finds an answer.

A resourceful person does not wait for someone to handle things for them.  Resourceful people are busy, finding what they need in their environment.

What It Looks Like

  • Actively seeking and finding answers to questions
  • Checking the classroom to find a word to help with spelling
  • Rereading the directions
  • Remembering something you used previously to help with a similar situation
  • Looking through your desk or backpack for what you need
  • Considering a different way to approach the situation
  • Making something new from something old (ex:  a quilt)
  • Finding a new use for something

Activities to Do In Class or At Home

  • Review definition and discuss what it “looks like”
  • Keep a list this month of every time you do something resourceful
  • If someone asks you for something that you know they could do themselves, remind them what to do.  Don’t do it for them.  ;-)  Instead, empower and remind them that they can figure it out.

Homework connection

  • Draw
  • Discuss / interview  with parents or family
  • Catch ‘Em In the Act – award with verbal praise or “Caught Being Resourceful” Cards

Literature Link

Primary Grades

  • Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Intermediate Grades

  • The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie S Carlson
  • Five Notable Inventors by Wade Hudson
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Life Skill of Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness involves… understanding and managing our emotions, knowing how to manage stress, and being able to control our impulses. It includes the ability to notice any patterns we might see in how our actions or moods affect a situation.

We know that having a clear perception of our personality, thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions allows us to better understand other people and how they perceive us.  All this helps us to more easily get along in the world.

What can parents do to help their children develop a greater sense of self-awareness?

  • Help children to be aware of what they are feeling—teach them to stop and think when they are having a strong emotion.  They may want to keep a journal to keep track of their emotions and what happened.
  • Help children think through what they’re feeling.
  • Chart things they enjoy or that cheer them up.
  • Chart frustrations and what went wrong.
  • Chart successes and what went well.
  • Is there a pattern to when I feel good, frustrated, angry, happy, etc.?

By keeping something like a chart or journal such as above, we can help children make connections and see patterns.  They might notice that they tend to be more cranky in the morning when they go to bed late; perhaps they observe how great they feel and have no conflicts on the playground when they eat a good breakfast.  Students may start to realize that they bring their personality, mood, attitude, etc. to any situation.  This teaches  them that they have some control to change unwanted situations and repeat behaviors that seem to bring them happiness or feelings of success.

Keep in mind that this is a rather complicated topic.  Being more aware of our own contribution to situations and the power we have to change things is a life-long educational journey.  Helping children learn self-awareness will forever help them in this challenging endeavor.

Literature Link

Growing Good Kids, 28 Activities to Enhance Self-Awareness, Compassion and Leadership, Deb Delisle and Jim Delisle

“Education is teaching how we can live together with our fellow citizens" - Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Life Skill of Generosity

Generosity is... the act of giving freely without expectation.

Generosity is an inherent motivator of the greatest power, which will emerge if given a chance.  To experience it is rewarding and self-reinforcing, not just for what it produces, but for the inner feeling we get that we can make a difference.  Once begun, generosity starts a landslide because success strengthens children.

Source:  Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness, Conari Press

Generosity refers to the nurturance of the ethic of caring and finding a purpose beyond oneself, and offers service to the community.

Source:  Mayland Heights School, Canada

What It Looks Like

  • share belongings,  materials and ideas
  • go through things in your closet, etc. and give away things you no longer need
  • help around the house or in the classroom – clean, check for paper on the floor, etc.
  • give people your full attention—eyes and ears—really listen
  • help others when they are stuck
  • share food with others
  • volunteer your time to help
  • contribute to Wee Care monthly campaigns
  • contribute to collection campaigns (ex:  Red Cross)
  • be friendly to someone you don’t know well
  • give a compliment; tell someone how nice they are; make someone feel important

Activities to Do In Class or At Home

  • review definition and discuss what it “looks like”
  • write about a time you felt good about giving
  • Compliment Can – pull a name & share compliments

homework connection

  • draw
  • discuss / interview  with parents or family
  • Catch ‘Em In the Act – award with verbal praise or “Caught Being Good” Cards

Literature Link

  • A Rose for Abby by Donna Guthrie
  • Joey’s Christmas Gift by Clare Mishica
  • All You Ever Need by Max Lucado
  • Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary Chamberlin
  • Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Finie
  • Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming
  • Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans
  • Teens with Courage by Jackie Waldman
  • Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness by Conari Press

Life Skill of Wise Choices

Making Wise Choices  involves…  making a choice that reflects what is true or right in our heart and  mind; it means that we think through our choice, and we understand that the choices we make have consequences--either positive or negative (or sometimes both).

Wise choices can also be choices that help us achieve goals. 

People often talk about “using their heart” to make a decision. This language will be used this month in our Soul Shoppe assembly. When your child says they are “using their heart” to make a decision, they mean they are doing what feels good and right to them. Another way of thinking about this is that we are using our conscience to make the best choice possible.

What wise choices might look like at school

  • Focusing on your teacher, so you can do your best learning.
  • Choosing friends who play in a fair and kind way.
  • Eating a healthy, balanced snack at recess.
  • Working through problems by using your words.
  • Using a dictionary to help you spell words.
  • Cooling down when you feel angry or upset.
  • Rereading the directions and rechecking your answers.

What wise choices might look like at home

  • Going to bed on time so that you are rested for the next day.
  • Doing your homework in a quiet space so you will not be distracted.
  • Exercising regularly and drinking lots of water, so you will feel your best. 
  • Talking about your feelings, instead of acting out.