Let us all create happy, content and competent children!
The emotional health of an individual is nurtured and built at the pre-primary and primary levels. Effective classroom management, recognizing positive behaviors, enhancing mindfulness, empathy, sharing and bearing, social awareness etc in the school is very essential towards building their positive emotional nature.
– by Palak Tiwari Gaiekwad, Director,
Little Kingdom chain of schools & Anoothy Welfare Society,
Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
During formative years, students develop a mindset towards academics, acquire leadership qualities and life skills, become confident, develop good communication skills as well as character values. This is also the time wherein learners acquire attitudes toward school, self, peers, social groups and family. Here, Palak Tiwari Gaiekwad, Director, Little Kingdom chain of schools & Anoothy Welfare Society, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, shares her views on the same.
TPS: It is said that the emotional health of an individual is nurtured and built at the pre-primary and primary levels. What do you think a school can do in this direction?
Palak: Building a strong emotional character and mental health is a state of well being wherein an adult progresses and lives at his/her optimum best. Promoting mental health and emotional stability to counter challenges in life is one of the core roles of schools and the education we impart. I believe, pre-primary and primary education helps a child to build resilience against various adversities in life, helping him/her to emerge as a strong and confident person. Building a tough and rugged emotional character helps the child to grow and evolve into a beautiful stalwart personality. Research has indicated that whole school approach (WSA),wherein the involvement of the entire staff and educators inclusive of parents, helps to generate the atmosphere of safety and security in the child, wherein learning takes place at optimum.
Involving the child in decision making, self-help activities and providing timely support also caters to the above. Life skill imparting curriculum and activities helps to garner empathy, leadership skills, team work, collaboration and confidence in the child. School should challenge the learners in exposing them to adverse situations wherein they take appropriate decisions. This helps students concentrate more on better academic results and less disciplinary issues to tackle with, thus helping them achieve better professional and emotional health in later life. Effective classroom management, recognizing positive behaviors, enhancing mindfulness, empathy, sharing and bearing, social awareness etc in the school is very essential towards building their positive emotional nature.
TPS: Quite often, the parents don’t seem to accept the emotional challenges faced by their children. How do we bring it to their notice and convince them for redressal of such challenges?
Palak: “One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.” – Dr. Charles Raison
As a nationally acclaimed parenting proficient, I truly believe, there is nothing termed as a bad child. They are just hurt, angry or sad. Be that friend, mentor and guide they want you to be. Listen to them, accept that your child is sensitive, teach them about emotions and then make them aware of the thin line between feelings and behaviors. Parents are made to understand that it’s paramount to teach our children emotional regulation and control. But this can happen only when we as parents accept that our child is undergoing an emotional roller coaster. During my parenting sessions, I try to make them understand the value of setting boundaries and limits. Parents can both be strict as well as tender depending upon the circumstances. Positive parenting is all about setting the right boundaries, understanding the emotional needs of the child and accepting the fact that children undergo emotional setbacks and challenges which have to be dealt with.
I regularly emphasize during my parenting workshops, that young children are also emotionally vulnerable though many a times they aren’t able to express their needs. They may act out of place through their gestures or in physically inappropriate ways. Being a parent, make them understand their emotions and the root cause of the problem. During my counseling sessions, I tell parents to name the emotions which help not only the child but them also to identify and accept the emotions. I convince them to be role models to their child and show them how to deal with various emotions under different situations. Last but not the least, parents have to praise each and every positive reaction of their child.
TPS: What is the role of a school counselor in facilitating the growth profile of the students at the formative level? Give a few simple tips.
Palak: We have enough proof from the research data that implementation of a school counseling program, as emphasized by “The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs,” has a positive impact on student achievement and growth profile. However, it is mandatory that the success of such counseling programs at school will only be possible under a trained expert and include a collaborative effort with school administrators, classroom teachers, school staff and community stakeholders.
This is also the time wherein learners acquire attitudes toward school, self, peers, social groups and family.
The counselor plays an integral role:
- Elementary school counselors should be well trained in child development, learning strategies and social skills.
- Counselor should promote growth for today’s versatile students.
- A holistic program has to be implemented which provides education, prevention and intervention.
- There should be a very strong home-school connect, counselor should collaborate with teachers and parents on early identification and intervention of children’s academic and social/emotional needs.
TPS: A number of models have come into the school system to deal with the pre-primary children. Many seem to have only a commercial dimension. What do you think would be a right model for dealing with the primary children?
Palak: As the Director of Academics and Pioneers to bring concept-based life skills enhancing curriculum in my city, I truly believe that maximum learning happens during a child’s formative years in the school. The brain develops synaptic connections which are in turn linked to a child’s visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning skills. At the age of 8, the child starts to develop long term memory, hence conceptual knowledge is very important. The best working model for primary school should be scientifically linked with multiple intelligences. Each child is unique and not one model can fit all. Successful primary school model helps in enhancing self regulation, self help skills and leadership, hones the decision-making abilities and working in collaboration. Trained teachers can provide justice to such models for maximum achievement. Effective model classrooms also engage students’ natural curiosity and creativity. Harsh disciplinary treatment can lead to stubbornness and revulsion in young minds; instead make them realize the essentialities of following rules (The Art of Conscious Discipline). The model should also stress on super themed classrooms which should teach children how to be good learners. A successful model should make children 21st century ready, making them adept to face challenging situations and also makes them mentally strong.
TPS: There appears to be a lot of interest among parents to prepare their children for higher studies or for populist achievements like reality shows. How do you think this could hamper the holistic development profile of the learners?
Palak: Parents are the integral part of a child’s growth and education. Each parent has certain aspirations and dreams which they want their child to fulfill. However, I feel, there is a very thin line between fulfilling dreams and pressure to fulfill dreams. Let the child achieve success on their own terms. Nowadays, parents have started preparing their child for professional exams from 7th or 8th grade. Parental pressure leads to anxiety and stress. Parental pressure in India is amongst the worst in the world and we seriously need to rethink what we want form our children. The overall holistic development is greatly hampered. The child becomes under confident, recluse and in some cases violent or self destructive. Unrealistic aspirations of parents from the child to over perform in talent and reality shows, lead to mental health issues too. The constant sword of over performance and getting higher grades is a nagging sword looming over our children today which is leading them to the path of mental and physical illness. As, parents we really need to take action of our decisions and save our future generation from this apathy. Lets us all create happy, content and competent children and not just robots getting grades.
Effective classroom management, recognizing positive behaviors, enhancing mindfulness, empathy, sharing and bearing, social awareness etc in the school is very essential towards building their positive emotional nature.
There should be a very strong home-school connect, counselor should collaborate with teachers and parents on early identification and intervention of children’s academic and social/emotional needs.
Palak Tiwari Gaiekwad is the charismatic Woman Edupreneur, and the Director of Little Kingdom chain of schools, Jabalpur. She pursued Diploma in Alternate Media from Amity University in the year 2006-2007. She did her Masters in Mass Communication in 2012 from Makkhanlal Chaturvedi University, Bhopal. She has also served as Program Head in United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She started her own production house Muses Pvt. Ltd, in 2010 and till date has made more than 55 documentaries on social causes. She is the pioneer to introduce concept-based curriculum for the first time in the city of Jabalpur. Palak is a practicing Parenting Proficient for the past 7 years using new concepts and pedagogies. Till date, she has counseled over 4000 parents. In 2017, she also started writing as a columnist for dailies like DB Post (English daily from the house of Dainik Bhaskar, M.P. edition) and Nai Duniya (M.P and Chhatisgarh editions). Since 2016, she is serving as parenting proficient for Harper Collins, India. She also serves as Parenting Proficient for M.P.B.S.E. She has been bestowed with numerous prestigious awards in the field of education. Recently she was conferred with the prestigious Education Evangelist Award by Forbes India. She was also honored with the Young Director of the Year Award, 2019 & The Best Director of the Year Award, 2019 by International Education Icon.