Following on from the Health and Wellbeing input earlier in the week, I watched and reflected upon the suggested videos featuring Dr Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnochan. Their videos placed great emphasis upon the importance of the early years and it’s significance on a child’s general wellbeing following on from babyhood and even into adulthood.
Dr Suzanne highlighted how all babies are born with an adaptable brain which is ‘shaped’ and ‘moulded’ by their early experiences and relationships. Babies are also born hardwired to be sociable beings and respond to facial expressions naturally. The adaptability of babies’ brains however, means that their brain is naturally ‘moulded’ to be able to cope and survive in their own environment (this could be a negative environment with aggression, volume or neglect or a positive environment where all wellbeing needs are met). By the time a child is three years old, their brain’s plasticity and adaptability starts to decrease and the ‘mould’ of their brain becomes set. It is then very difficult to change this ‘mould’.
This video revealed scientifically just how significant the experiences of babyhood and pre-birth are in a child’s development-and how they go on to deal with their world and society. Hand in hand, the video featuring John Carnochan OBE emphasises the importance of positive relationships with children.
John Carnochan makes clear that violence is an ongoing issue within many age groups in Scotland and he believes that investment into early years is vital in order to decrease these cases. He also states that children require consistency and safety and nursery and primary teachers are key figures in a child’s life who can facilitate this need. As practitioners, we must always be mindful and aware of the fact that some children in the classroom may deal with stressful or challenging events at home and resultingly may miss out on having a vital safe circle and consistency. We must always be striving towards aiding and supporting these children through their struggles and also generating resilience in the hope that these stressful experiences do not negatively impact their lives beyond the classroom.
In terms of the impact this will have on my own professional practice, I believe the knowledge and understanding of the importance of relationships will enable me to comprehend to a greater extent why some children may face multiple different challenges and obstacles in regards to their behaviour and life choices. I also believe the knowledge will prompt me to never give up on a child, no matter how many times they cross and push boundaries. All children deserve and require stability, safety, consistency and love in order for them to develop their own healthy relationships and life choices and with time, effort and passion a teacher may be someone who can provide this.
As teachers, not only is it vital to be alert of any signals of danger or upset within the children; it is also important to develop positive and strong relationships in order for the children to be able to trust us with sharing any issues or problems in their lives. Teachers and schools should be supportive for all members of a child’s family (as well as the child), nurturing and protective so as we can set children up to be happy, healthy and responsible individuals with their own healthy and positive relationships.