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Life skills we wish we learned in school

October 08, 2021

Skill building

Copy with Callout Support Girls' Education


Through our Girls’ Education Program, we support girls to stay in school longer, progress towards completion of secondary school, and acquire the skills and agency they need to make informed choices about their lives and realize their potential. Girls who participate in our program often go on to university or a career of their choosing. In fact, in a survey of five-year alumnae from Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program, 82 percent of graduates were either employed or participating in tertiary education.

One of the four key components of Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program is the development of critical life skills that help girls in and beyond the classroom. Our Life Skills Education Framework focuses on 10 life skills, which fall under three key domains: self-awareness, self-efficacy and social awareness.

Life Skills Education Framework


The 10 life skills outlined in the framework above will help girls stay in school, make responsible decisions, build healthy relationships and achieve their goals. Dive into each one below.


1. Self-Confidence: Having self-confidence means understanding that you are valuable and believe you are worthy of great success. When girls are self-confident they are able to make healthy decisions about school and their relationships. Topics include building self-awareness and identity, learning to identify and appreciate strengths, values and beliefs, leadership skills and being a role model, and standing up to bullying.

2. Expressing and Managing Emotions: Expressing your emotions means you are able to share your feelings with others. When you express your emotions you are able to identify your feelings and understand how they impact your thoughts and behaviors. A girl who can express and manage her emotions can process challenging and difficult experiences in a healthy way. Topics include walking in other's shoes and understanding different perspectives.

3. Empathy: Empathy is the ability to recognize the emotions that other people experience. When you are empathetic, you are able to imagine what someone else is experiencing so that you can be a compassionate listener. When a girl is empathetic she is less likely to show unkind behavior towards others because she would not want to make someone feel sad. Topics include showing empathy to family members.


4. Self-Control: Having self-control means that you are able to control your emotions and behave appropriately in all situations, at school and at home. When you can control your behavior in a healthy way you are practicing self-control. Topics include refusal skills and navigating peer pressure.

5. Critical Thinking: Using critical thinking skills help you evaluate information and look at a problem from many points of view. A girl who thinks critically will solve problems using logic, understand new subjects in school, and make healthy decisions about her life. It also helps girls better understand the opinions and feelings of their friends, teachers, and family. Topics include how to save money, identifying needs and wants and financing post-secondary education.

6. Decision-Making: Engaging in good decision-making skills means you think carefully about all of the potential outcomes of a decision. When a girl has good decision-making skills she is able to make smart decisions about school, friends and work that will bring her success.

7. Perseverance: To have perseverance means that you keep trying to do something even when it is hard and you do not succeed quickly or easily. Girls with perseverance are committed to achieving goals, learning new things and getting through difficult times in school and in life. Topics include problem-solving and goal setting, overcoming obstacles, and self-care and managing stress.


8. Communication: Good communication means speaking and listening effectively with others. Effective communication between individuals improves relationships. Communicating and listening well helps girls solve problems in a positive way, improve their friendships and become successful at school and in their careers. Topics include team building and working with others.

9. Creative Problem-Solving: Creative problem-solving means that when you have a problem, you find a solution. Girls can use creative problem solving skills when they experiences problems at school, with friends and at home. Topics include climate and gender justice.

10. Relationship Building: When you have relationship building skills, you are able to maintain your existing relationships and make new friendships that are positive and healthy. When girls learn to build healthy relationships, they are learning how to value and respect themselves and their new friends, practice their communication skills and build empathy and self-confidence. Topics include healthy boundaries and building trust.


As they complete school, girls will face many important questions like:

  • Should I study at university or a vocational school? How can I afford more education?
  • What career should I pursue? Should I start a business?
  • Should I get married? When and to whom? How many children do I want to have?
  • How can I budget and save money for difficult times?
  • How can I help others in my community?

Developing life skills will help girls prepare to answer these and other questions, carefully consider their options, the consequences of each option and make plans to achieve their goals.

Don't you wish you learned these life skills when you were in school? Take a minute to support girls around the world grow the necessary life skills they need to exercise agency and make informed life choices.