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Setting Up Your Own Life Skills Group

written by: Jacqueline Chinappi • edited by: Benjamin Sell • updated: 8/2/2012

Life Skills can be a very resourceful group or unit to be studied in school. While teachers know they have to teach the basics such as math and language arts, what about topics dealing with everyday choice such as drugs and alcohol? While many schools have drug prevention program some do not.

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    Implementing the Program

    Life Skills is a group or rather psycho educational class which many students take part in either during school time or at after school centers. Currently, I will be leading my own Life Skills Group for students ranging in ages from 12 and 17. Some of these students have already taken this class while many others have no idea what Life Skills consists of.

    The Life Skills Group I will be implementing will have to do mostly with drug abuse, alcohol abuse, self-esteem, body image, and bullying. There have been many teachers before me who have come up with group ideas and I need to come up with my very own fresh outlook on the topic. As any educator knows it is very difficult to keep students “entertained” while they are learning.

    So where did I begin my search for material? I searched for a few outlines online as well as looked at previous group work by prior teachers and counselors. I felt that the old outlines used were so out of date and not “hip” enough for kids to connect to. I basically stuck to the free educational material found on the NIDA site.

    NIDA is The National Institute of Drug Abuse. NIDA has fee educational material including curriculum, lesson plans, videos, posters, worksheets, and brochures regarding drug and alcohol prevention. You can download the material or have it shipped, for free. These free materials will help me plan out the course outline as well as prepare “fillers” such as worksheets to help the course run smoothly. Videos can also be ordered for free and includes videos regarding drugs, alcohol, and even a documentary on drunk driving.

    These topics are very important for students to learn about and be well aware of the harms and the benefits. I have also decided to include bullying and self-esteem issues in the curriculum. Bullying is a difficult issue but a very real issue which can be found in and outside of the classroom. Many children find it hard to talk about bullying not only when they are the ones being bullied but also when they are the ones doing the bullying! Some great information which you can use in bullying lessons can be found here.

    Self-esteem issues seem to be starting at a younger age as time goes by. Girls as well as boys go through physical changes which may leave them with lower self-esteem or self-image issues. Implementing lessons about this into your Life Skills group will help answer questions which many children may feel embarrassed to ask about and may not normally ask about.

    Life Skills Topics should include:

    • Alcohol Abuse
    • Drug Abuse
    • Bullying
    • Body Image/Self-Esteem
    • Eating Healthy
    • Peer/ Family Relationships

    A Life Skills group can help not only students but also the parents realize the many dangers our children face out there. As well as the many decision and obstacles they may have to overcome. These obstacles may start in the classroom or outside of the classroom, more often than not though…pressure to fit in starts with the peers AKA classmates. So we as teachers need to realize and educate the children about the difficulty choices they may have to make, such as trying or no trying drugs.

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    No Time?

    No Time?No Problem! Several Life Skills curriculums can be bought and taught as it is already packaged and prepared, no setting up needed. Some to try are:

    • American Community Corrections Institute Life Skills Curriculum
    • Arise Life Skills Curriculum
    • Woprldview Publishing, INC. Lifeskills Video Training Programs