Developing Life Skills
In our fast changing world, it is more important than ever that we help children develop crucial life skills such as resilience, risk taking and perseverance. However, these are quite abstract ideas and can be hard for children to understand what they "look like".
The Gem Project
Working together with Dr Tom Robson, we introduced the Gem Project to Combe Down Primary, which seeks to help children recognise and therefore develop key life skills.
The six 'gem powers' we highlight to children are:
| Diamond……being responsible
| Emerald…..being courageous and sticking with it even when it gets tough
| Sapphire….keeping focus
| Ruby……..supporting others
| Topaz ……collaboration…learning in a big group
| Amethyst …cooperation….learning with a partner
The Science Behind the Gem Project
As Tom Robson explained to staff and children, when we are put in a situation where we need to use one of these skills our bodies produce certain chemicals. In small doses the chemicals are beneficial but in large doses they can induce negative emotions such as worry and stress. It is important that our children are put in situations where they experience the chemicals and associated emotions in small doses so that they are able to recognise and cope with the emotions when they face challenges in life that might induce large doses of the chemicals.
As parents and teachers we naturally wish to help and protect our children; however, we can shield them so much that they fail to practise and develop these important life skills. By awarding gems for particular skills, we encourage children to practise the skills even if it means they are putting themselves outside of their comfort zone.
More information about Tom Robson and the Gem Project can be found at Tom's web site