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Child Mental Health - Physical Development

Over on Facebook this week I am discussing physical development and how it is so important to the work that I do. I am sharing these posts on the blog so that they are easy to find and reference.

Mental health and emotional well-being are in the headlines every day at the moment, I feel it's so important to look at this in a proactive way, from grass roots level. Let's start by looking at the three prime areas of learning and development.

The three prime areas of learning and development are the backbone of early years training, they are also the backbone of who we are and how we function as humans. We all need these three areas, our foundations, to be strong and deep.

The UK school system doesn't currently have these three areas as it's priority and that is a real issue. We as parents can help to bridge the gap that can be created, by how we interact with our children and support these areas of development. When I say children I mean from birth to young adults (the brain continues to mature until the age of 25).

We can sometimes start with strong foundations but life happens and it impacts them, we need to take time to revisit and underpin them to make them strong again. This happens lots of times throughout our lives, and in smaller aspects, our days too! For children this impact is even greater as their brains are not fully matured; even in young adults.

As you know, I think the way we compartmentalise health is not helpful or representative of how we develop and grow, we are whole people and all of these areas impact each other and therefore impact well-being, self-esteem and learning. The three prime areas are a good representation of this; these areas support and impact each other, Studies show us that emotional health impacts our physical well-being and vice versa - we can't ignore the evidence.

For children, we can often continue to carry on building even when they are showing us that they have cracks in these foundations, this has an impact on long-term outcomes.

These three areas should always be given priority, with strong foundations we can build better futures.

Physical development and how it supports the development of the other two prime areas.

Communication and language development and how it impacts the other two prime areas.

Please do get in touch if you wish to use these images as slides for training purposes - I am happy to send them across.

We should keep these three prime areas of development at the forefront of our minds both as parents and as teachers. Trying to teach a child or expecting them to engage and learn when there is an issue in one of these areas is not conducive to good relationships, mental health or long-term outcomes.

Supporting your child's physical development is incredibly important for long-term emotional health - health is health, we are not compartmentalised as human beings so we must stop looking at health in this way.

The vestibular system is a sense that isn't often talked about. Even within early years it was something I'd only learnt about a few years ago, it was an important discovery and changed how 'behaviour' was seen.

A child wriggling on the carpet and not sitting still - that's FINE, they're moving in a way that is developing this sense. A child not able to sit on a chair still, a child who is spinning around whilst they listen or talk to you - GREAT.

It's another example of how we can put developmentally unrealistic expectations an a child, particularly in a classroom. How often do children get punished for moving in ways that should be encouraged for this important sensory development? The vestibular system also plays it's part in children being able to regulate their emotions; important to remember when thinking about behaviour.

The vestibular system, activities to support it's development should be encouraged at home in schools and in childcare settings.
Image via Integrated Learning Strategies Learning Corner

Visit if you would like to learn more.

More posts on physical development on their way later this week!

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