Understanding Early Years & Its Importance: Role of Schools in Mental Health of Children

Understanding the importance of early years –

There is a lot that is said about the importance of a child’s early years of development. The early years are some of the key years in a human’s life as that is where most of our belief systems, learning curves, curiosity, and wonder takes form and thrives. Ample research has been done in this field, revealing that children have quicker learning curves and can pick up and imbibe concepts, ideologies and ways of living at a faster rate than an adult would. This learning is at its peak during the first six years of a child’s life, after which the learning curve slows down comparatively. In those early formative years of the child, their physical, emotional and social development takes shape and form, determining the adults they are to become tomorrow.

The first 6 years –

Recent research has shown that a child’s learning curve doesn’t just begin at school, but that their learning begins right from birth. So you can see why imbalanced parenting can result in children who feel ‘stuck’ and/or are struggling in a hyper-vigilant mode or hyper-neglect mode. As research has shown, children who are brought up in adverse and strict disciplinarian systems may tend to exhibit extreme forms of behaviour or behaviour that stems from trauma, affecting how they see, interact and relate with the world. In several cases, children who are raised with neglect in their own homes or lack attentive parental guidance, grow up to exhibit behaviors stemming from that abandonment and lack of appropriate parental care.

It has become increasingly necessary that both parents and educators today adopt intentional, attentive parenting with children as the first 6 years of their life will be a determining factor of the years ahead. Back in the day our circumstances were different and marriages were a thing of convenience and family planning as a concept was almost obsolete. Today, we see a huge turn-around with parents more tuned with the needs of their children, especially when it comes to raising kids in the midst of a tech and information boom.

How can we as parents and educators safe-guard and protect the needs of our children and prepare them for a world that is constantly changing and evolving? 

Safeguarding the mental well-being of children –

Unlike back in the day, today we see a different set of possibilities unfold for the present generation. With the internet boom engaging children through gaming, social media, and other digital indulgences, there is a lot at stake when it comes to safeguarding the mental health and well being of children.

“Children learn and listen more willingly when they are met with kindness, empathy and patience; when their core need for connection or attachment is met.” ~ Vince Gowmon

Adopting show, don’t tell as a way of life –

Emotionally mature parents & teachers raise emotionally mature kids –

When children are born to parents or are around teachers who haven’t learned safe ways to balance their emotions, the child develops unhealthy coping mechanisms. At the end of the day, good parenting is not only about ensuring the mental wellbeing of the child, but ensuring that parents and caretakers too practice boundary setting and healthy ways to relate with themselves, one another and ultimately the child.

Real education begins at home, and to a child, a school is a lot like a second home. It is the place they spend most of their day in, a place where they form their earliest interactions with the world, where they practice what they have seen at home and play it out on the world.

Children are a gift to this world. It is when they are young that they can be moulded and shown the world in a way that still preserves their innate curiosity and wide-eyed innocence. Children of today carry the potential to be leaders of tomorrow, and every minute spent with them is an investment into a future that everyone – be it teacher or parent – hopes to be a witness to.

Role of teachers & schools in preserving the mental well-being of children –

Second to the parents, children learn and imbibe from teachers. Which means that the onus on schools is heavy when it comes to raising children with the necessary skill sets for tomorrow.

Schools have a role to play in raising emotionally and mentally sound children –

Mind over matter:

“It is not intellect but rather imagination that is the source of creativity. What if imagination was nurtured as much if not more in school?” ~ Vince Gowmon

The role that schools have to play in the developmental years right up till puberty and adolescence is huge. And that isn’t only because of the educational content a child learns in school from textbooks and teachers, but has a lot to do with the interpersonal relationships between them, other children and the world. Whatever children observe and pick up from their surroundings in the early years, will have a long-term impact on their personalities and outlooks on life.

When a child begins schooling, they are entering a world of possibilities added to the learning. There is a fountain of knowledge that takes root young and is knowledge that spans across all aspects of their to-be life from art, poetry, math, literature, biology, history, languages to studying, observing and interacting with people of different ages, cultures, and belief systems. This is where children are formed and their minds take shape aiding their thinking and approach to life. When anyone is surrounded by a range of cultures, each differing from the other, their possibilities expand and the world becomes larger than it already is.

In today’s day and age, children already bear minds of their own, so instead of forming something new from scratch, it bodes well for parents to hone their existing passions and skills, and not just in terms of bookish learning, but also in terms of what they do outside their classrooms and the passion projects they find their affinities with. Knowing that children are living, learning and breathing a far different time as compared to the years before helps parents nurture and hone their curiosities and protect their dreams. At a young age, children learn to self regulate by observing how the world regulates their experiences and emotions – through this they develop their own mindsets and opinions, and they aren’t bound by the limitations of society or the mind. They are wild, imaginative, fearless and free.

Social interactions & broadened perspectives:

While a child begins to observe how their parents interact around people and communities from a young age, school goes a step further to become an extension and continuation of those early formative years. Spending time in schools, studying, interacting and socialising with teachers and peers exposes them to newer ideas and trains of thought. By exposing children to a range of possibilities, they develop an understanding of human beings and the world. By allowing their minds to absorb values, kindness and empathy, developing strong and lasting friendships and absorbing newer world views makes the child grow into an adult who is emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually stable. These are behaviours that every child needs to imbibe, and a school goes a long way in facilitating the right world view and setting the right tone to life at a young age.

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Feeling safe in their bodies:

When it comes to physical expression, children are aware of their changing bodies and the various stages of physical development that they go through right from infancy, throughout childhood into their adulthood. The moment a child starts going to school, they start to see the outside world much different from the warmth and protection of their parents and home. Here, the child learns to appreciate difference, both in his physicality and that of others, and newer avenues open up as their bodies explore newer realms. After a certain age, children experience a peak in energy. It is during this time that they start to learn how to channelise that energy around themselves and others in a way that is socially acceptable. Playing and interacting with other children and peers helps them form key social skills and also puts all their pent up physical energy into positive use.

Lastly, children learn from what they see. It is important to model the right kind of behaviour you would like to raise a child with, because children learn from what they see more than what they are told. The term practice what you preach could not be truer when it comes to a parent child relationship and a teacher child relationship. What we sow in our children today, we will reap through the adults of tomorrow.

While we practice what we preach, there’s also a truth that we can wear on our sleeve. When it comes to kids, a bold t-shirt goes a long way in asserting their true identities in the world. A t-shirt that expresses their individuality also helps them take up space in a world that is increasingly changing inside-out.

Our kids collection carries a versatile range of designs that caters to children of all ages, genders, interests and hobbies. To shop from our exclusive kids collection, click here. You can visit Gubbacci design Studio to design your own custom T-shirt. And you can also browse some best selling collections like Anxiety Awareness Collection, Diabetes Awareness Collection, Alzheimers Awareness Collection and many more.

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