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early years education

Well-being in the Early Years

Let us explore what is well-being and it’s a very significant role in child development...

Well-being for kids is supporting the child’s personal, social, emotional and physical development. It’s about holistically supporting a child to thrive, blossom and flourish in an effective learning environment. Children who have a strong sense of well-being have good social skills and a positive disposition. They are confident to make mistakes and learn and to seek help wherever required. They are comfortable both alone and in the company of others.

How can we foster well-being in school and raise kids who thrive, blossom and flourish? Let’s look at some strategies to do so.

1. Promote active learning through mindfulness activities.

A teacher’s warmth, responsiveness and sensitivity go a long way when it comes to developing a child’s emotion regulation skills. This is a critical EQ skill that allows kids to bounce back from setbacks. Use a multi-sensory teaching approach that caters to different learning styles of students. Have a set time in the day like circle time, reflection time, exercise time, art time, storytelling dance, music and movement, etc that allows children to relax and express their feelings. Encourage outdoor play, especially during the months of pleasant weather. Take learning outdoors. Encourage healthy eating to ensure physical well-being. Adopt a listening approach. Nurture friendships and value their unique interests.

2.  Provide Opportunities for Growth: Expose your students to a variety of experiences and opportunities that can help them discover their interests and talents through enrichment activities in school hours. Encourage them to try new things and pursue their passions. This goes without saying, but we can't just talk the talk. We have to walk the walk.

3. Set High Expectations: Set high, but realistic, expectations for your students. Encourage them to strive for excellence and support them in reaching their goals.

4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset: Give students room to grow and the means to get there. And part of that is teaching them to coexist with and learn from failure. Teach students the value of hard work, perseverance, and resilience. Encourage them to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. it's from the experience of challenging ourselves and taking risks that we grow, learn, and become more resilient. The cultivation of a growth mindset needs to be hammered into their malleable little brains, day in and day out. We have to use praise intelligently and focus on effort, hard work, and the process, and not intelligence or talent.

5.  Promote a Positive Learning Environment: Create a positive learning environment at school that values education and intellectual curiosity. Encourage students to ask questions, explore new ideas, and think critically. Provide playful learning experiences in the environment both indoors and outdoors. Through playful learning, it reinforces the ability to control impulses and actions, organize thoughts, and focus on an activity for a sustained period without getting distracted (and without having to resort to bribery). These methodologies effectively translate into academic and behavioural success. One of the principle eyfs is Enabling environments. Create a calm, comfortable environment where the students learn best. Let it be stress-free.

6. Model Positive Behavior: Children learn by example, so be a positive role model for your students. Demonstrate the values and behaviours that you want to instil in them, such as kindness, empathy, and integrity. Offer children opportunities to 'practice' friendship skills such as sharing by encouraging cooperative games and acknowledging and valuing positive behaviours.

7. Communicate Openly: Foster open and honest communication with your students. Encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings and listen to them with empathy and understanding.

8. Provide Structure and Routine: Children thrive in a structured and predictable environment. Establish routines and boundaries that provide a sense of stability and security for your students. Let the visual timetable guide them about their daily routines.

9. Celebrate Achievements: Celebrate your student’s achievements, no matter how big or small. Acknowledge their efforts and successes to boost their self-esteem and motivation.

Finally, assess well-being with surveys sent to parents. Children's physical, mental, and emotional well-being supports their overall development and learning which helps them to grow and learn optimally while building the skills required to reach their full potential. Let us continue to support well-being through our actions that create a deep positive impact on the kids' well-being, thus helping each child to be the best unique version of himself/herself.

Written by Remy Rodrigues, Independent Educational Management Professional