Riverbend Academy’s Exclusive Real Life Skills Program

Serene and Peaceful Education at Riverbend Academy

Serene and Peaceful Education at Riverbend Academy


What is missing from your child’s education?

Riverbend Academy was founded to make student’s educational experiences complete. We designed a curriculum that would prepare our students for the world they will become responsible for when they graduate. We collaborated with students, parents, business leaders, and teachers to discover what additions to the Ontario Curriculum would make a true difference in the quality and success of our students’ lives. What missing skills would create the next generation of leaders prepared to rise above and make a difference?

Riverbend Academy is proud to announce our solution – the exclusive Real Life Skills Program (RLS). A program where children learn the necessary skills for an ever-changing world.

We have designed and tested a 10-part program that gives our students an advantage in life. In our ever-changing world, creativity, adaptability, and diversified thinking are the missing links in the education system. Simply gathering knowledge is not sufficient for success in life. Our students learn to apply that knowledge, take action to fulfill their goals, and develop key skills that create the lives they want based on their passions and desires.

Based on our own experience with our 5 children, we knew that our students required a fuller curriculum to prepare them for the modern world and its new global economies.

Together with our dedicated team, we began speaking with students. The overwhelming message we received from them was that the world was a frightening place. Anxiety, stress, and unhappiness defined much of their school lives. They felt they were unprepared to deal with the expectations of school, how to study, how to learn, how to even express their dissatisfaction without being chastised for showing disrespect. Dealing with the fast pace of their lives, changing and uncontrollable emotions, conflicting priorities, and other unknowns require new skills that they traditionally have not been taught.

Our Real Life Skills Program fills in that gap with such skills as Emotional Intelligence, study skills, and meditation.

Our collaboration with business leaders demonstrated how far the new world economies have changed. We have clearly moved into an entrepreneurial economy in each of the three main world economies (Western, Emerging, and Developing Countries). Small to medium sized business are driving the growth in Western economies. Smaller firms, led by creative, self-disciplined men and women, are thriving in a collaborative atmosphere. Emerging countries like China and Russia are sustaining their growth through innovative entrepreneurship. In developing countries, aid has been found to be totally ineffective in creating a sustained economy. A new breed of entrepreneurial philanthropist has emerged, creating and training local entrepreneurs to develop sustainable economies less dependent on aid. In all cases, small business are driving the economy.

That same mindset is taking over the corporate offices as well. When asked, CEOs of the top 500 companies in the world say they are looking for employees that are creative and adaptable, who are able to find collaborative, innovative solutions. Meanwhile, the go to solution of the education system (better trained, more tech savvy students) ranked 7th in the list of important skills.

Real Life Skills was designed to give our students the skills to become valued employees or to take the reins themselves, leading others in their own companies, depending on their desires and passions.

Finally, we spoke to parents about what they felt they had missed out on in life. We discussed what challenges they have faced, what might have slowed them in achieving their goals, or even the fact that they had never been taught about the important skill of setting and achieving goals. We became the students and learned from the needs and mistakes of the previous generation by asking a simple question. What skills or knowledge did you wish you had when you were younger that would have given you a better, more fulfilled, and happier life?

The answer is simple … Real Life Skills

Once we put together the Real Life Skills Program, the most common reaction from those same parents was exactly what we expected: “I really wish someone had taught me that when I was a kid.”

And that is exactly what the Real Life Skills Program does – teach our students the skills they need for a more productive, happier life full of success and enjoyment.


From a business woman in London Ontario:


“I have read about your Real Life Skills Program and probably think I should go to your school and start over.  I had a terrible time at school when I grew up.  The teachers were very mean which frightened me and then I was just paralyzed mentally and physically so couldn’t learn at all.  I remember being stood up in front of the class because I couldn’t rhyme off the times tables perfect, ALL of them.  And then a teacher threw chalk across the room at me because I didn’t get something he felt was important. I eventually grew up thinking I was dumb and couldn’t do anything, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So to hear your commitment to turning out a student that is not just good at school but a student good at life is really wonderful!!”


Ten key elements make up the Real Life Skills program:

1)     Emotional Intelligence (EQ) At Riverbend Academy, we are committed to increasing our students’ happiness and reducing their anxiety. This heightened emotional stability is directly reflected in academic success and enjoyment of school. Traditionally, students graduate after 14 years of school with a large body of knowledge but lack the skills to manage, or even recognize, their emotions. At Riverbend, our students learn Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence (EQ), is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in oneself and others and use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships. And what does a strong EQ mean for our students? Studies have shown that, as a predictor of business success, EQ outweighs IQ. And EQ, unlike IQ, is a skill that can be learned and developed. With their EQ ability, our students excel in academic, personal, and business relationships, have less stress, and lead happier lives.
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2)     Goal Setting & Success Planning

“You can’t hit a target you can’t see” – Wayne Gretsky

Goal setting and success planning are two of the most important skills that students can learn and will serve them for their entire life. A key element in the Tools for a Successful Life, goal setting is developed early in a student’s career. Over a student’s time at Riverbend, the skills are developed and reinforced to increase confidence, success, and self-esteem. Our students discover first-hand why goal setting has been called the “master skill of success”. And, they will use these skills every day for the rest of their lives.
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3)     Self-Discipline

“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” – Elbert Hubbard

When asked what the most important success skill was, Cobb Copmeyer, author of 1000 Success Secrets, immediately answered – self-discipline. He stated that the other 999 secrets failed in the absence of self-discipline. Our students learn that self-discipline is not about depriving oneself but is actually about managing conflicting goals. Combined with our goal setting and success planning strategies, self-discipline can manifest in many ways, including perseverance, the ability to overcome setbacks, focus, and self-control. Self-discipline is the key to success in many ways beyond simply “getting work done”.
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4)     Meditation

Meditation has many benefits that help achieve our goals of academic excellence and increased happiness and reduced anxiety. Our meditation times increase a student’s ability to focus. In fact, brain scans show that meditation actually increases activity in the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive and intellectual performance. Studies also show that mediation reduces absenteeism and bad behaviour because it increases positivity, confidence, and self-esteem. Finally, by practicing meditation, students can more easily relax and find their center, especially during stressful situations like tests. This relaxed state increases academic performance. Most important, this ability to reduce anxiety will serve students for the rest of their lives.
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5)     Creativity, Organization, and Learning

“Smart students aren’t the ones with high IQs – they are the students who have mastered studying and note-taking.”

Creativity, organization, and study skills are abilities that extend across subjects and can be used throughout life. In keeping with our goals for individualized learning, we work with students to find the best study methods for each student. The skills addressed include organization, time management, note-taking, effective reading, essay planning, and using marked work as effective feedback. Finally, the study skills increase success and enhance the opportunity for life-long education simply because it becomes easier and more enjoyable to learn.
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6)     Decision Making Skills

Making timely, effective decisions is the difference between acting and reacting. Our students learn to make decisions based both on analytic thinking as well as intuition. They learn the balance of over-thinking a decision or rushing in foolishly – understanding the difference between unfounded fears blocking a decision or common sense warning them. In the end, our goal is to teach students to direct their lives by proactively making timely, effective decisions that lead to successful, happy lives.
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7)     Memory Skills

It seems a contradiction but with the introduction of more and more devices that aid in reminders (cell phones, tablets, etc.) training in memory skills has never been more important. In school, remembering basic facts (like addition & multiplication tables, formulas, etc.) makes a student’s life infinitely easier. Rather than struggle with mundane tasks, they are able to spend their time on higher level concepts propelling their academic success. Later, in the work world, names of staff & clients, organization, promptness, and timely project completion come easily to the memory trained – and so do raises and promotions. Even socially, those with a trained memory flourish as they remember acquaintances names, important information about close friends, and even entertaining jokes and stories. Academically, socially, or at work, a trained memory gives students a distinct advantage. It also reduces stress and anxiety to make a happier, more fulfilled life.
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8)     Financial & Money Management Skills

At Riverbend Academy, we consider it part of our responsibility to develop mindful consumers, investors, savers, and givers. This is often an area ignored by parents with an average of only 26% of 13 to 21 year olds reporting that their parents have taught them how to manage money. By using opportunities within the curriculum, guest speakers, and real life situations, our students increase their financial knowledge and skills to aid them both personally and professionally.
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9)    Communication Skills

The best possible ideas will never become reality without the ability to communicate those ideas to others in a concise, precise, and exciting way. Good communication skills benefits all areas of life. How clearly we express our thoughts, intentions, and objectives has an enormous impact on our success in life – not only academically but professionally and socially as well. Good communication is essential for our social and professional image.
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10)    Universal Laws

The book and movie, The Secret, performed a great service by introducing many people to one of the Universal Laws – the Law of Attraction. However, this book and movie only scratched the surface of the Universal Laws, laws that help an individual work with the natural direction of life rather than against it. By introducing students to the Universal Laws, our goal is to see them flourish by expanding their minds and possibilities. The Secret also left out one key ingredient to the use of the Universal Laws – the necessary work. We want our students to understand that, these Laws are not magic fixes that make wishes come true. The Universal Laws are actually skills and ways of thinking that require work and practice. Our students learn that, by effectively using the Universal Laws, they can live a happier, more fulfilled life.
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