Teaching Kids About Well-Being
by Kristy Wood
The Sydney Morning Herald recently posted an article titled ‘Healthy Outcome in the balance’ that is well worth a read. It highlights a current predicament with the primary school curriculum, the time constraints of this and the pressure it places on teachers to perform for NAPLAN results. The article states “how can we accept a situation where children leave primary school knowing more about punctuation and multiplication than they do about their bodies, how they work and what keeps them alive?”
The article then goes on to explore how teaching children about their bodies and their own well-being is “now more relevant than ever given the prevalence of chronic disease”.
“Schools are a great place to do things that benefit children, young people and society as a whole. Inevitably, schools are called upon to better prepare their students to cope with a wide range of issues we confront as a community.”
“We need to make sure our kids leave primary school fully appreciating how amazing their bodies are, what they are capable of and the importance of caring for them thoughtfully”.
“The reality is most primary schools struggle to effectively deliver the existing health curriculum, let alone a new, national curriculum that is likely to place more onerous claims on them. These constraints are well understood among stakeholders familiar with the operating environment in primary schools”.
We do need to start to have conversations with children about their personal well-being and teaching them to look after and care for their bodies. As a society this also something we need to be modeling to children so that they have a tangible lived experience and role models to refer too.
Many children express that they feel teachers and parents don’t have the time to really listen to them. Possibly this is an area we need to explore. For children to understand their world and their emotional responses to it they need to be able to talk about their life and how they feel about what is going on for them. However with the current pressures and demands on schools and in our current pace of life in general it seems the time for this is happening less and less.
It is important that we have effective health education that supports children to make informed decisions and learn about ways to care for themselves. It is also time that we start to explore what is happening in society in general, why is there an increase in alcohol consumption and drug taking by young people and what is going on for them that leads them to this? We need to make the time to have conversations with young people that connect to their personal experiences and support their emotional and physiological well-being.