Essential Skills and Families

Essential Skills and Families

Essential Skills and Families

Date posted: September 27, 2013

Today is Essential Skills Day, a day that focuses awareness on essential skills in workplace settings. The nine essential skills are: reading, writing, document use, numeracy, computer use, thinking, oral communication, working with others, and continuous learning. These are also skills that we use every day in our homes and with our families.

Here are some resources that help identify essential skills in a family context.

Essential Skills: Families. (Online)
Yellowknife, NT: Northwest Territories Literacy Council, 2010.
This fact sheet focuses on essential skills as they are used by families. It offers examples of what each skill would mean for a hypothetical family.

Get Set Learn afterschool program guide: everything you need to run a program for families.
Ann Kelland and Alison Wasielewski. Kitchener, Ont.: Project READ Literacy Network Waterloo-Wellington, 2011.
This family literacy program is designed for school-aged children (6 to 12 years of age) and their families. It is a 10 week afterschool program for parents with Essential Skills at Levels 1 and 2. One of the program’s outcomes is to develop an awareness of Essential Skills, appreciating how they are used in home-based activities and how they can be transferred to both school and work situations. There is a section in this guide on Essential Skills that analyzes several family, home-based activities by the Essential Skills that are involved.

Recognizing Life’s Work: helping learners connect their Essential skills from home to work: a practitioner’s resource kit. (Book + CD)

Walkerton, Ont.: QUILL Learning Network, 2010.
Also available online at
This resource aligns selected leisure and home activities again the Essential Skills framework. It demonstrates that many of the skills used in daily life can be transferred to work environments. The leisure activities profiled are: computers for personal use, crossword puzzles, entertaining/socializing, fishing, gardening, housecleaning, household financial management, household food management, household scheduling and organizing, pet care, playing board games/cards and reading for pleasure. Learning materials and other information are included to help build on skills and make the link to relevant jobs. The profiles are followed by a How-To Guide for practitioners which outlines a 5-step process to identify and work with the leisure skills of learners.

To borrow either of these print resources, email

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