As many parents face sending their younger children back to school in uncertain times, I cannot help but wonder how much focus will be on the children's mental and emotional wellbeing and how much will be on getting them back to "normal," or catching up with the check boxes of curriculum needed, to get them back to where they "should" be.
Given the global and traumatic events of the last few months, it would be naive to assume that children can just go straight back to learning, without addressing the anxiety and emotional distress, that may well be held inside their bodies and their minds. Let alone any stress suffered as their parents struggled to work and "homeschool."
Seeing their families frightened, changing routines, removing them from their friends and possibly even losing someone they loved will have a profound effect on how they think and feel about themselves, others and indeed the the world. With negativity pouring from every news broadcast, even if they are not actively listening, the world has most definitely changed and children do not yet have the coping strategies in place to handle anxiety, let alone process the huge implications of the last few months on their future. Trauma and stress in early childhood, is one of the biggest precursors to mental health issues in later life. So if you want your child to learn well and to thrive in our new emerging world, forget learning for now and focus on their happiness and wellbeing instead.
A child's need to feel safe must be prioritised, if they are to have any hope being able to live to their full potential. Growth can only happen when we are not in survival mode and this cannot happen, unless a child feels safe. Their capacity for learning literally shuts down. So many of our younger generation are already dealing with so much stress and being separated from their parents again, with many being sent back against their parents better judgement, fear will still be ever present. The single biggest influence on your child's success will be their state of mind and their emotional wellbeing, so ditch the maths and the phonics for now. Instead focus on singing, dance, art, yoga, music, cooking, positive storytelling and free play - all essential outlets for self expression and emotional release. These should be the priorities for any young children going back to school or nursery. Counting can wait.
Teaching mental and emotional wellbeing to parents and children aged 2-7 years, through original music and FUN! No musical experience necessary.
"It's literally the best thing I have ever done with my child!" - Jordana Matsuda - Early Childhood Educator