The time has come for American schools to enter a new age of health and education. This will involve many changes because learning does not involve just academics and health does not just involve doctors. Youth need to be healthy in mind, body, spirit, emotions and relationships in order to be successful in life. Public agencies can combine their efforts to fund positive gains in health and education for every child in America. Below, I outline one scenario to make this possible.
To be successful in life, youth need to master a wide variety of skills in health and education. The goal of the Success Academy is to provide any person the tools they need to become as successful as they can be in mind, body, spirit, emotions, relationships, and behavior. Therefore there would be 8 related heath and education areas in every school. These learning areas would be Intellectual Success, Body Health, Spiritual Health, Mental Health, Relationship Health, Moral Development and Pro-social Behavioral Health, Culture and Arts, and Work/school/job Success. These “Learning Areas” would be provided by funding from a variety of public agencies and integrated into the Success Academy.
Each health and education “Learning Area” would be divided into levels with each level built upon mastery of the skills of the previous level. Assessment would determine the level at which a person would begin. The beginning level would be the one at which the person would be guaranteed success. This contributes to “by-in” with the process and feelings of self-efficacy and self-esteem. Therefore a young person will feel successful from the beginning of the process.
Health and Education Learning Areas
- Intellectual Success; (Academics)
- Body Health; (Physical health and wellness)
- Spiritual Health, (Having meaning in one’s life through activities and beliefs)
- Mental Health, (Emotional Intelligence, mental wellness, treating mental illness and substance Abuse, Pro-social behavior)
- Relationship Health, (Health in relationships with friends, families, and communities)
- Behavioral Health, (Making effective life choices, Striving toward one’s goals, building coping skills)
- Moral Development (Building moral development, i.e. perspective taking, empathy, using the Golden Rule, supporting the group)
- Culture and Arts, (Experiencing culture and arts; appreciating diversity)
- Work/school/job Success ( building work/school success skills)
All of these areas are needed to a greater or lesser extent for all children depending on their home and community experiences. For children that come to school with some of these skills
in place, they may need less of one type of learning and more of another. For each child, the combination of learning will be a little different because the balance of skills and areas of learning will be dependent on prior environment and experiences. In this way, you do not have a group of children that are deemed as less than the other children because they need more work on academics (the “slow” kids).
The group that needs to learn more in academics may need to learn less in appreciating diversity or relationship health. Everyone has strengths and areas of which they need to learn more. There becomes a more even playing field with everyone needing to learn something. Everyone can learn what they need to learn without shame. For example, learning about self-management of one’s behavior does not become a shaming process any more than it is for those advanced in academics, but shy, need to learn about relationship and emotional health.
This is only one idea of how we might go about improving health and education of our young people and reducing social problems in the US. As the dialogue continues, there will be more ideas and then, hopefully some experimental action to improve the health and education of our youth.
Dr. Kathy Seifert is a psychologist, author, lecturer and entrepreneur. Her websites include DrKathySeiftert.com Care2Systems.com , and PreventBullyingNow.info . She is the author of several best-selling books including, “How Children Become Violent,” “Youth Violence,” and “Big B and little b Bullies” as well as relaxation MP3’s. Dr. Seifert has appeared on CNN, FOX, Discovery ID, and Ebru TV. She is an Official Bullying Expert on HowToLearn.com and writes a blog for Psychology Today called Stop the Cycle. Dr. Seifert is passionate about combining health and education.
Read more about hjealth and education