Over the last two years, our children's school has initiated a program known as "Well-being Day". Its purpose is to assist young ones in discovering a healthy balance in their lives and the world around them. Held every month, it places mental health on the same level as academic needs. The concept sounds simple. However, as anyone can tell you, it's a highly individual topic that reaches into different areas of life and marks the start of a lifelong journey for each person.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it's the parents' reactions that reflect the diversity inherent in the topic of mental health. There's a vocal group that dismisses the program outright as unproductive, comparing it to slacking off on Fridays. Interestingly, these parents often advocate for 'direct education' - the kind you and I probably experienced. It's an approach defined by frontal teaching, filled with repetition and memorisation of facts.
Yes, hard skills and memorised facts may help one pass exams. But how beneficial will they be later in life? How much will the relatively uninteresting details of medieval history or grammar theory assist them when they face real-world challenges?
The answer varies for each individual. For me, it partially resolves the question I pose to myself as a parent every single day. Currently, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to choose a school that pioneers such an approach.
PS: Just to clarify, I'm writing this as an avid fan of history topics.