ABC's of Life

After watching a television broadcast of an approach to the prevention of crises like Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook, I found myself thinking "Why not? Why wait until a crisis? Why not give children the opportunity to learn skills that will allow them to grow into responsible, caring adults?" After tracking down the source I became more and more excited about the possibility of bringing this program to Bedford Village Morning School.

In 2000 a group of parents helped "find the money" to bring this program to Bedford Village Morning School. Jon Oliver, founder of Lesson One and the ABC's of Life Program homed in Boston, Mass., agreed to conduct a training for staff. We were all excited and not in the least bit disappointed by the results of the training. What we did find though is that it is not a program; rather, it is a way of life. It is not taught for five minutes at Circle Time but is incorporated into every part of the day. We cannot begin to tell you how successful this has been for both children and parents, as well as staff. If you were to ask me to choose what the most important skills children leave Bedford Village with it would be, hands down, the skills learned in the Life Skills program.

After many years of teaching and watching children grow, I know without question that what we teach our children about self-control, responsibility,
being kind and friendly is critical for this generation. We need to teach children that making mistakes is part of learning. As important, however, is teaching children what to do when they make those mistakes. Teaching a child, especially a perfectionist, that it is their choice how to handle mistakes,and modeling how to deal with "what comes next" when mistakes are made, is what makes the difference in a your child's life. Of course, learning to read and write and count are important but, in my opinion, equally or more important is the other "ABC's of Life" which are the ones you find in our Life Skills Program. "The Life Skills way of life".)

You can learn more about this program by looking at Jon Oliver's website: You can also get recommendations for books, articles and keep yourself updated on what is happening around the country. His book is also available for parents and teachers. It is published by Simon and Schuster and is called Lesson One: The ABCs of life. I recently had a chance to speak with Jon and will be updating you with the latest changes that have been made throughout the country. We have adapted some of the skills from 2000 to fit the specific needs of the children here at BVMS . Our vocabulary may be a little different, but the heart and soul of the program is intact and taught as it is meant to be taught and modeled.

During the year I will run a training program for parents so that they fully understand the process and can support their children as they learn. It is our hope that we can bring Jon and his team back for another training program so if there are parents out there who would like to help us find the funds, please contact us.

If you listen to the news, read a paper or talk with friends, you know that the pressure and danger surrounding our children today is overwhelming at best. You have given your child a gigantic head start in learning to be prepared for whatever comes their way by choosing a school that is focused on teaching the skills necessary to be successful in today's world.


Life Skills is an important part of the Bedford Village Morning School Program. Each parent should have a thorough understanding of our Life Skills program so that they can support skills learned at school in their child's daily life. We have seen, over the last few years, how effective this support is when there is a total understanding of the process that makes it so successful. Please be sure that you talk with your child's teacher about where they are in this process and things you can do to incorporate it into your home.

We are proud of the Life Skills Program offered at Bedford Village Morning School. It is as fundamental to your child's education as the letters of the alphabet. Helping all children learn to apply these skills as they begin their school experience will enable them to meet the challenges of the generation to come.

The program is designed to establish a classroom climate based on mutual trust and respect. It teaches self-control, personal space, responsibility, self-confidence and respect for others. It is a preventative program founded on the idea of building a common language throughout the school and home. The words and skills are introduced to the children gradually, and eventually become a part of their everyday life. It involves games, stories, and the sharing of experiences. It has been an extremely positive addition to our curriculum.

It is a way of life. It is always positive! It is taught by example, by sharing personal stories, by using puppets, books, and "teacher tools". It is done at circle by introducing the vocabulary and the skill and then it is carried throughout the day so that the children can begin to internalize these skills.

Your children will begin this program in the Lower Preschool and continue it throughout his/her experience with us, and hopefully with your help, throughout his/her life.

The program begins with a Pledge for Success. The pledge teaches the life skills necessary to have constructive relationships while building a child's sense of self. Vocabulary is brought down (or up) to the level of the child we are working with. Timing of when a skill is introduced is critical. "Timing is everything." In the "Pledge for Success" and the "Vocabulary" sections are the basic skills introduced. Again, the vocabulary may be changed to fit the level of the children we are working with.

Always Remember: Life Skills is not a lecture or a sermon. It is a way of life that is taught through example, modeling and exposure. It is ALWAYS positive.

Click here for more information about our Life Skills Program

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