Empowering Children: Rethinking Education for Psychological and Physical Well-being

According to the study published in JAMA Pediatr. 2022, the current decade is considered to be the most turbulent in terms of the overall health of children and young teens. With over 5.6 million kids being diagnosed with anxiety and over 2.4 million teens suffering from depression that has exponentially spiked the instances of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit-HyperActivity Disorder), the ever-growing pressure of performance or rather being that EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMER is taking a serious toll of health – both physical and psychological, of children among the age of 3 to 18 years. 

Kids and teens today face immense pressure from parents, peers and society that is causing more harm  than benefit for them and society. Today Kids and teens are suffering from physical and psychological health issues more than ever before. This way we are progressing towards creating a future generation that would lack fitness and confidence which would impact their lives and society in future  This rat race of becoming an “Outstanding Achiever” is creating a generation of kids who are losing their individuality  by just unthinkingly competing to become a better version of others in the same arena, rather than exploring other avenues based on their own strengths and capabilities.

But the question is, can each kid be an exceptional performer – Well the answer is both – NO and YES. 

NO – because, there can only be one 1st ranker, One Winner, One World Champion and so on. The world only remembers the Winner or the 1st ranker or the World Champion to be an Exceptional Performer. All after them are not regarded as good. 

YES – because, each kid is different and hence each one should be judged on different parameters instead of general assessments. Some are better in sports, others in academics while few others may be exceptionally good in performing arts or other activities. The important task for parents and teachers & most importantly school management is to allow ample opportunity and exposure to bloom and nourish the individuality of kids rather than conventional growth. 

In effect, today we face an acute urgency like never before to reinvent our Education System. The Education System, Parents and Teachers in congruence with the school management should collectively focus on Child Development that not only promotes and celebrates diversity in students, but also ensures the right balance between putting pressure to perform and letting the kid explore his area of interest. 

Our schools need to be highly innovative in their approach to teaching and hence make competition work in favour of kids. Pressure does not work evil all the time; it is also good as it motivates an individual to go beyond their comfort and achieve more. However it’s critical to be aware of the fine line between pressure that motivates the child and that which discourages her. 

The Samhita Academy (TSA), a Bengaluru-based revolutionary school has initiated an innovative “Kid Centric” approach to teaching that fosters the growth of the child by ensuring a safe and secure environment that stimulates the personality of kids. Its central pedagogy is to promote the overall well being of each kid and promote it further. TSA believes all kids in themselves are champions and have the potential to lead in future given the right mentoring and guidance.  Hence TSA structures its approach to provide a nurturing ecosystem that motivates the growth and development of a champion out of each child.

According to the Principal of TSA, KS Jyothi, “TSA follows the approach of a cohesive and collaborative education system where students are promoted for healthy social interaction and relations. TSA promotes and organises quality ‘Circle Time’ and ‘Bubble Time’ activities where students spend fun time with friends and teachers which enhances the confidence of kids by making them comfortable in the social environment within the purview of their personality.” These activities are designed and executed in a manner that does not sacrifice the academic proficiency and exam readiness of the child. 

The fast pace of development and societal changes leads to reduced social interaction and demands re-invention of our Education System. Such a teaching approach motivates kids to develop their social skills at the right age. Making them more  comfortable in their skin as they learn new things about the world and start interacting in diverse social environments. Thus, this small but very effective activity helps them manage pressure and social expectations from a very young age. 

It’s critical that Governments and Schools through their Education system and Society through cultural practice, teach kids the most basic skill of life – Social Skills. Such initiates would become the foundation of the kids of today which are the future of tomorrow, and it’s just about time we start planning for our future.

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