Skills for Life Programmes

Skills for Life programmes teach children how to cope with everyday difficulties, how to communicate with and get on with other people and build self-awareness and emotional resilience.

A new Skills for Life programme ‘Passport’ has just launched for 9 to 11-year olds.

Howard Primary School has been using the Zippy’s (5 to 7-year-old) and Apple’s Friends (7 to 9-year-old) programmes and have introduced the new programme Passport.

The School shares its experience:

Zippy’s and Apple’s Friends represent for our school a child friendly way to cover themes such as feelings, communication, friendship, solving problems, changes, and moving forward.

The children have been very responsive to both programmes. They find it easier to relate such big concepts to their own lives through the characters’ stories and the activities. They learn to listen to other children’s stories and share their own. They ask questions and share solutions using the golden rule: a good solution is something that makes me happy, does not hurt me and anybody else.
Above all, in every session, they experience and practise empathy, understanding and valuing different point of views.
Some of the themes such as change which includes death, can seem daunting and too hard for primary school children. However, we found that children are curious about death and some of them have already experienced the loss of a family member or the loss of a beloved pet. By working on these themes children learn not to be afraid of their emotions and develop their emotional literacy and resilience.
We made the decision to link the core message of the programmes to our 5c (care, commitment, courtesy, co-operation, consideration) which are displayed visually by an apple’s core. We believed it was important to support the children in putting into practice the golden rule everywhere: classes, playgrounds, corridors, halls. So, we came up with our visual representation of Apple, the pet hamster in Apple’s Friends and displayed it everywhere. It is used as a visual reminder and as a tool by the adults to support children in solving conflicts. The adults take the children to the nearest poster and use it as a prompt. The children feel that they can count on Apple as it is everywhere.

Teachers have commented that both programmes are easy to deliver as they are scripted, and the resources are provided. They feel that the programmes have helped in building a more caring school’s culture: all feelings are valuable, experiences can be shared safely and offering advice is not the same as telling a person off.

Sonia Pollington – DSL and SENCO, Howard Primary School,


These skills for life programmes are an excellent way for teachers to cover feelings, communication, friendships, conflict, change and loss; children learn through stories, role-play, drawing and discussion activities. To find out more please contact:

Susan Moore Educational Psychologist ​ tel 0208 241 5468 or email:

skills for life programmes