In my opinion Health and Wellbeing is one of the most important areas in the Scottish curriculum. It is where students are able to learn about and discuss relationships, physical education and wellbeing, mental wellbeing, emotional wellbeing and social wellbeing just to name a few. In the principles and practice document for the Scottish curriculum it states that Health and Wellbeing is “the responsibility of all practitioners.”
The diagram above is an image similar to the diagram shown in the principles and practice document. It shows us that when teaching children Health and Wellbeing the common goals should be active, nurtured, respected, responsible, included, safe, healthy and achieving. I think this is a good way of looking at Health and Wellbeing in a rounded way and that these are not only things that practitioners should be teaching but they should also be looking out for in pupils of all ages. Watching a child’s health and wellbeing means that you can check if they are healthy or safe etc and as a practitioner you have the responsibility to spot if something isn’t quite right. Asking yourself, is that child safe in this classroom? Is that child being included in that activity? Is that child healthy – why are they always sick? are just some of the ways that back up my point. When I was in school there was a huge change over from teachers not taking much interest in Health and Wellbeing to it being taught in most subjects. This is probably due to the curriculum for excellence being produced, however I remember there being a huge emphasis on Physical Education in primary school and sex, relationships and drugs in high school before the huge change over happened in my last year at school. Maybe it is due to the area I come from but I think that this was more likely at the time a whole country wide shift into seeing the relevance of Health and Wellbeing.
Relationships is a factor which I only took into account recently. Still being a student, I have not yet had my placement and in my previous work haven’t had a huge amount of experience working with families, just the children. But children all have different families not the “nuclear family” that everyone expects of 2 children a mother and a father. We need to teach that this is ok, so that we prevent bullying and children feeling isolated because their family is different to what is considered “normal” these days. I was bullied after my father died and I believe that if the children had been taught that it was ok that families come in all shapes and sizes and if the teachers had been better at looking out for their students health and wellbeing, then I probably wouldn’t have been bullied as badly as I was. There was support out there, but nobody told me until I had left school. As families are different the way that children and adults in families think different too. Here is a video which shows just how differently children think to adults, and how their go to reaction is that they want to be around their family.
I think it is so lovely that these children all want to have dinner with their families but not all children have the opportunity to say that or live in an environment where they could sit down and have a meal with their family like this. Every child’s home experience is different and we need to remember this as teachers and for the 6 hours you have them in your class, make sure they are safe and included. This is all part of looking out for a child’s health and wellbeing in the classroom. I feel it is something we should also teach in the classroom so that peers can spot bullying and report it.
One of the things I have mentioned is P.E. I hated P.E. and have to admit I did anything I could to get out of it (which worked out quite well after I had whooping cough and was left with a back injury when being pushed off a trampoline.. OUCH!). But having worked in the nursery last year and working with children at guides and brownies I am starting to see how important physical education is for children in this country and across the world. The World Health Organisation produced a report in 2009 that stated “43 million children under the age of 5 years will be overweight by 2010”. Now I know that we are 6 years on from this, but if that isn’t a scary enough statistic to prove that children need health and wellbeing to be taught in schools, I don’t know what is. Healthy eating is something else we should be teaching across all stages of learning. This sugar intake video that I posted a few months ago, shows just what goes into sugary drinks and if children don’t know these things, they will not turn them down and go for the healthier options of fruit, veg, milk and water.
So overall, I hope I have put across to you just some of the reasons that I think health and wellbeing is so important in the Scottish curriculum. After all if we don’t teach our children how to look after themselves, how can we expect them to?