The Power of Soft Skills
Recently, Kaiser Health News published an article about the importance of teaching soft skills to children. Researchers were able to determine that children who participated in academic programming that included parent training groups, academic tutoring and lessons in self-control and social skills, showed signs of reduced delinquency, arrests and use of health and mental health services as the students aged through adolescence and young adulthood. This positive trend in preventing problems in children's lives, can be attributed to the social and self-regulation skills the students learned from ages 6 to 11, according to researchers at Duke University. “The conclusion that we would make is that these [soft] skills should be emphasized even more in our education system and in our system of socializing children,” says Kenneth Dodge, a professor of public policy and of psychology and neuroscience at Duke who was a principal investigator in this study. “There’s a growing and new understanding of what it takes to be successful as an adolescent and an adult,” Dodge says. “It used to be that what we thought all it took was academic skills. Reading and math are very important for tasks that require reading and math. Self-control is important for life tasks that require self-control — that’s what avoiding arrest and violent crime is all about.”
At TYO, we too believe in the power of teaching soft skills to children - as well as to adolescents, youth and women. In TYO's Core Child Program, for children 4-8 years old, we implement a holistic method of non-formal education. Our curricula focuses on themes of Identity and Communication, encouraging students to better understand themselves and their community, while teaching essential life skills. These skills include building self-confidence, empathy, self-control, communication, teamwork, peaceful problem-solving, and logic & reasoning.
And while it's critical that TYO continues to invest in the lives of young children, we also value our work with adolescents and youth 9-25 years old. In the Middle East and in Nablus in particular, this age group is considered to be one of the greatest risks and opportunities. We are committed to engaging this important demographic, the leaders and parents of tomorrow. By integrating soft skills into our programming, adolescents and youth can make smarter, healthier decisions for themselves and become better leaders for tomorrow.