‘Adulting 101’: Nova Scotia pilots high school course offering life skills

Click to play video: 'N.S. schools piloting new course to teach students essential life skills'
N.S. schools piloting new course to teach students essential life skills
WATCH: Some Nova Scotia schools are trying out a new course called "Life 11" which aims to teach students about handling essential adult responsibilities like filing taxes, finding housing, and securing employment. While the province's education minister isn't committing to expanding the pilot project yet, she expects it should gain lots of interest. Callum Smith reports. – Sep 7, 2023

When people graduate high school, often, there are many skills they don’t have to help them get through day-to-day life.

“Sure, people use the stuff like a-squared plus b-squared and how to read, but we need more life on experience,” says Nick Gillis, a Grade 12 student at Forest Heights Community School in Chester, N.S.

But the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development hopes to change that.

“I really do think of it as kind of ‘Adulting 101,'” says Becky Druhan, the province’s education minister. “We’ve never really had that built into the course before in our system.”

A new course, formally called ‘Life 11’ is being rolled out this year at four schools as part of a pilot project. It’s aimed at teaching practical, everyday life skills.

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“How do I file my taxes? What do I need to know about that? What is an interest rate? What is a credit card? When might I need or want to have one? How do I get an apartment?” asks Druhan.

“So, the sorts of things that you kind of face in daily life. That’s really what the course is all about.”

It’s something students who spoke to Global News sound interested in, given that they feel they’re not prepared for post-graduation.

“There’s a lot of skills like how to do with credit cards, getting jobs, taxes and all that,” Gillis says. “They don’t really go into actual life skills.”

“Doing your taxes, when to get a credit card… Those things are all very important and I don’t have any general sense of what to do and how to do that,” says Coltrane Brooks-Denike, a Grade 11 student at Citadel High School in Halifax.

“I think that’s just very important for students to learn.”

The pilot will only be offered at four schools this year. The list was provided to Global News by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Semester 1:
Riverview Rural High School, CBVRCE
Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School, TCRCE

Semester 2:
Baddeck Academy, CBVRCE

The course won’t be mandatory for those schools offering it, but it appears there’s already some support from other students.

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“It’s just great for kids to learn the stuff in schools now before they end up in the real world,” says Brooks-Denike.

Even the minister admits she would’ve appreciated the option when she was in school.

“It certainly wasn’t available then, but I definitely would have been interested,” Druhan says.

She says she expects the course to garner broad interest, but stopped short of committing to expanding the course at this stage.

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