There has been much discussion in the media recently about anxiety and emotional health in children as young as primary school age. It is a sad indictment of our society that whilst most, if not all of us are fortunate enough to have the basic requirements for life like food, water, shelter, safety, the numbers are rising year by year.
Pressure on children
It is clear that the pressure to be beautiful and popular is an inescapable message with the endlessly unrealistic images portrayed on social media and in TV and films. Neither is there a safe haven at home with access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram on every device 24 hours a day; but does the blame lie entirely on peer pressure or is it time to question the education system that puts such pressure on our children within the National Curriculum? Some children are only just six years old when they begin Year One and the change in ethos from the Early Years Foundation Stage is momentous.
The emphasis on child-initiated and child-led play comes to an abrupt end as they enter the world of targets, tests, sitting for extended periods of time as a group learning subjects delivered in a ‘one size fits all’ way. This is no criticism of the beleaguered, hard-working teachers who struggle to explain the mysteries of fronted adverbials and pluperfect tenses to children who are still in the mindset where creativity and individuality are cherished.
Preparations for resilience
At the moment we can only prepare our youngest children to be confident and resilient enough to ‘survive’ the system and, as Nursery practitioners too, we have the training and the backing of the EYFS that we need in order to do so. Look out for a workshop in the future ....