Rethinking Education blog post

Rethinking Education after COVID-19

It seems obvious to point this out, but the pandemic has been hugely damaging for our collective wellbeing. Therefore, the recent report stating that children are falling behind in speech and understanding is not particularly surprising.

Though unsurprising, the situation is far from hopeless. One thing this pandemic has brought to light is the need to focus on mental wellbeing as a priority. Many would dismiss this as conjecture, or claim that this is easier said than done, but we only have to look at the academic success of countries like Finland where mental health is a priority.

66% of Finland’s students go to college, with 93% graduating from high schools. Finnish daycare centres focus on creative play rather than specifically reading or writing. As well as this, Finnish students are allowed 75 minutes of break time a day, and they don’t start school until the age of seven. They also only have one standardized test across their school years at the age of sixteen.

Here in the UK, the system seems to heap pressure upon itself on the basis of missed classes. But is there really a need to rush? Why do we place arbitrary deadlines and targets upon young children? The aftermath of the pandemic provides us a perfect opportunity to start afresh: introduce a curriculum that has a firm foundation in mental wellbeing as a priority. Results in Finland show us that it actually leads to a higher success rate.

Then again, how should we define success? Should it be solely on academic results? Aren’t we told that exams are not the be all and end all should we not do as well as we would have hoped? The pandemic has given us an almighty challenge to overcome, but it has also given us the opportunity to try something else in revealing the flaws of the current system.

Though designed prior to the pandemic, the resources in our Nurture Group Portal lend themselves perfectly to dealing with the challenges that need to be faced as we return to normal life. The resources focus on the challenge of rebuilding one’s self-esteem following a time of lengthy separation from friends and classmates.

We have two Nurture Group portals; one for ages 4-8 and another for ages 8-11. Both portals focus primarily on how to discuss and comprehend the difficult aspects of life. Given that it can be a lot more difficult to deal with a problem that can’t be explained, we are helping children to gain an understanding of their own mental wellbeing and encouraging them to talk openly about it.

The Nurture Group materials work as either a standalone resource, or as part of the entire curriculum, which also contains an abundance of material centred on mental health and development. Take for instance our Mindfulness Videos available throughout each portal, and via the RainbowSmart App, which promote positive wellbeing via meditative techniques. You can download the RainbowSmart app and check out our resources for free on the App Store or Google Play, depending on your device.

Though the app has been designed for parents and carers to use beyond the classroom, we have numerous packages for schools too which all support increasing emotional intelligence in children. Our talking cards and dilemma drops form part of the Early Years curriculum (ages 3-5), which supplement our Rainbow Drop-centred storybooks perfectly. Take for instance ‘Orange Feels Worried’, or ‘Purple’s Pet Bird’ - two of the many stories that deal with emotions of anxiety and grief in ways entirely accessible to young minds.

Our Primary Portals (ages 5-8 & 8-11) build on the Early Years knowledge via situations that encourage positive decision making. Our interactive videos encompass an array of topics regarding mental health, particularly the Feelings and Emotions module within both portals. We understand the way in which children develop, so our curriculum is well tailored to meet the needs of young learners as they grow and change. You can find out more about what we do, or even see about a free trial for your school via our homepage.

The education sector undoubtedly faces its biggest challenge in generations, so why not meet the challenge with something radically different. We can do better and we should always strive for that. The team at 1decision look forward to the opportunity of potentially supporting your school in the future.

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