By Meg Dickens
Students in Miss Freeman’s Students in Miss Freeman’s class at Laurel Elementary started their day on the right note thanks to their teacher. Freeman wrote a personalized positive message on each student’s desk on the morning of September 20. This small act of kindness put her students in the right mindset for the day.
Positivity can have an excellent effect on anyone and can often brighten someone else’s day. According to the American Psychological Society (APA), “the impact of child mental health on child development and society as a whole is well documented but under-recognized.”
Mental health is an immense issue for all ages. Stress and related issues can weaken the immune system and cause sickness. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress left unchecked can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Freeman’s students range between 6 and 8 years old. According to Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, children around this age begin developing logical thought and can start to problem-solve internally. Piaget believed that children learn best through doing and being active in their education.
This greatly influenced modern-day primary school curriculums. Some major ideas from Piaget include focusing on individual learning, keeping flexible curriculums, centering child on play as a teaching mechanic, using the environment, learning by discovery, and evaluating child progress accurately.
This is a critical stage in child development. Teachers and parents should keep an eye on children’s mental health and development. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), young children may benefit from evaluation or treatment if they exhibit the following symptoms:
throw frequent tantrums or are regularly irritable
talk about fears or worries often
complain about stomachaches or headaches without medical cause
cannot sit still or quietly (except under special circumstances such as watching videos or playing videogames)
sleep too much or too little, have frequent nightmares or seem sleepy during the day
lose interest in playing with others or have trouble making friends
struggle academically or begin to receive lower marks
repeat actions or check things many times out of fear that something bad may happen
Your child’s mental health affects their physical health and development. Keep an eye out for any symptoms like the ones listed above. Find out more about child mental health at nimh.nih.gov or mayoclinic.org.
By Meg Dickens