Intermediate Phase Life Skills

Life Skills deals with the holistic development of the learner throughout childhood. It equips learners with knowledge, skills and values that assist them to achieve their full physical, intellectual, personal, emotional and social potential. The subject encourages learners to acquire and practise life skills that will assist them to become independent and effective in responding to life’s challenges and to play an active and responsible role in society. The subject aims to develop learners through three different, but interrelated study areas, that is, Personal and Social Well-being, Physical Education and Creative Arts.


Personal and Social Well-being

Personal and Social Well-being is the study of the self in relation to the environment and society. The study area provides opportunities for learners to practise life skills required to make informed choices regarding personal lifestyle, health and social well-being. It provides learners with skills to relate positively with and contribute to family, community and society. Learners are equipped with skills that will assist them to deal with challenging situations positively and recognise, develop and communicate their abilities, interests and skills with confidence. They learn values such as respect for the rights of others and tolerance for cultural and religious diversity in order to build a democratic society.
In the Life Skills curriculum for Grades 4 to 6, Personal and Social Well-being is expressed as a study area containing three topics. The three topics are:

  • Development of the self
  • Health and environmental responsibility
  • Social responsibility

The issues dealt with in each topic are related to the issues covered in the other two topics of the study area. Owing to the interrelated nature of the study area, the three topics of Personal and Social Well-being function interdependently, and therefore, are considered to be of equal importance.

Physical Education

Physical Education (PE) aims to develop learners’ physical well-being and knowledge of movement and safety. During engagement in this study area, learners will develop motor skills and participate in a variety of physical activities. Participation in PE will nurture positive attitudes and values that will assist learners to be physically fit, mentally alert, emotionally balanced and socially well adjusted. Learners will directly experience the benefits of such participation and be better able to understand the importance of a physically active lifestyle. During movement activities teachers will also address the development of other skills such as relationship skills, problem solving skills and the enhancement of self-esteem.

The content for Personal and Social Well-being and Physical Education study areas addressed in Grades 4, 5 and 6 relates to that in Life Skills in the Foundation Phase and Life Orientation in the Senior and FET Phases. It focuses on similar areas of skills, knowledge and values and prepares learners to continue with the subject in Grades 7 to 12.

Creative Arts

Creative Arts provides exposure to and study of a range of art forms including dance, drama, music, and visual arts. The purpose of Creative Arts is to develop learners as creative, imaginative individuals, with an appreciation of the arts. It also provides basic knowledge and skills to be able to participate in creative activities. A safe and supportive environment is created for learners to explore, experience and express thoughts, ideas and concepts within an atmosphere of openness and acceptance. Creative Arts provides opportunities for learners to give expression to their feelings and understandings, individually and in collaboration with others. It creates a foundation for balanced creative, cognitive, emotional and social development. Creative Arts education, when successfully applied, has been proven to improve literacy and to reduce education dropout levels. By the end of the Intermediate Phase Creative Arts, learners should have a basic knowledge and appreciation of all four art forms, and should be able to make an informed choice about the two art forms they would like to focus on during the Senior Phase.

Creative Arts will be studied in two parallel and complementary streams – Visual Arts and Performing Arts (Dance, Drama, Music).

Visual Arts provides the learner with an opportunity to discover through play, while building on the skills and techniques that were mastered in the Foundation Phase. Visual Arts encourages an awareness of art elements and design principles found in the natural and the built environment, and enriches the learner’s personal experience of the world. Opportunities are provided for social, emotional and intellectual development, and through non-verbal expression and the process of creating art, the learner comes to understand symbolic language. Visual Arts in the intermediate phase provides the learner with the opportunity to explore, and to make decisions about the choice of this discipline in the senior phase.

The three topics for Visual Arts are:

  1. Visual literacy
  2. Create in 2D
  3. Create in 3D

While Performing Arts recognises that in African arts practice, integration is fundamental, it also notes the need for the learning of skills separately in dance, drama and music. There are many complementary and overlapping areas of practice in these arts forms and the focus is on the inclusive nature of the arts. Since the nature of integrated arts practice is such that it may be difficult to develop specialised skills in the classroom within the allocated time, it is suggested that learners wanting to specialise in a particular musical instrument or in a particular dance form, take extra-mural classes for this purpose.

The four topics for Performing Arts are:

  1. Warm up and play – preparing the body and voice, and using games as tools for learning skills;
  2. Improvise and create – using arts’ skills spontaneously to demonstrate learning, individually andcollaboratively;
  3. Read, interpret and perform – learning the language of the art form, and interpreting and performing artisticproducts in the classroom;
  4. Appreciate and reflect – demonstrating understanding and appreciation of own and others’ artistic processes and/or products.

The focus of the learning should be on the development of skills through enjoyable, experiential processes, rather than on working towards highly polished products in each term. Classroom performances of short examples of learning should take place in a non-threatening environment, where the contribution of each learner is valued and acknowledged.

Formative assessment should be continuous and integrated into the programme of learning through ongoing feedback to learners.


The subject Life Skills aims to:

  1. guide learners to achieve their full physical, intellectual, personal, emotional and social potential;
  2. teach learners to exercise their constitutional rights and responsibilities and to respect the rights of others;
  3. guide learners to make informed and responsible decisions about their health and environment;
  4. develop creative, expressive and innovative individuals;
  5. develop skills such as self-awareness, problem-solving, interpersonal relations, leadership, decision-making, and effective communication;
  6. provide learners with exposure to experiences and basic skills in dance, drama, music and visual arts includingarts literacy and appreciation; and
  7. allow learners to enjoy the health benefits of exercise and develop social skills through participation in Physical Education.

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