Child Trends
January 11, 2013

Skills for Success in Elementary School and Beyond

Child Trends is pleased to assist the Tauck Family Foundation as it sharpens its focus on programs that help children build the skills they need to succeed in the elementary school years and beyond.  Child Trends prepared two reports identifying skills that are central to a child's development. Encouraging the Development of Key Life Skills in Elementary School Age Children: A Literature Review and Recommendations to the Tauck Family Foundation provides an in-depth scholarly review of  current research and Essential Self Management Skills: Summary of Research summarizes findings for the general audience. 

Child Trends identified four self management skills that have the capacity to boost elementary-school-aged children's academic achievement, which is, in turn, critical for their long-term success.  These malleable skills include:

  • Self Control. Children with good impulse control get along better with others and tend to have higher scores in math and reading.
  • Persistence. Children who show persistence have the ability not only to stay focused on a task but also to overcome setbacks and keep trying.
  • Mastery Orientation. Children who demonstrate a desire to learn are less afraid of new and challenging experiences.
  • Academic Self-Efficacy. Children with strong academic self-efficacy tend to perform better in school overall.  

These briefs discuss outcomes associated with each skill and strategies for developing the skills.  Fundamentally these are skills that empower children, giving them some measure of control in the face of serious challenges and barriers, and potentially providing a route out of poverty for the young people who master them. 



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