Get emotional literacy onto the UK school curriculum
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It's better to build strong children than fix broken adults.
Kids today are taught a variety of subjects giving them an awareness of the world around them, but no part of the curriculum focuses on helping them develop an awareness of their own feelings and how to express them.
Children leave primary school with the ability to read words, but not feelings. In other words, they are emotionally illiterate.
No wonder it's hard for them to talk openly about their feelings, when we leave their emotional development down to chance.
Self-awareness, self-understanding and the ability to get things off your chest by talking about them are key drivers of wellbeing. With anxiety among children up 60% in the last two years, 3 in 4 mental health problems starting in childhood, and suicide now the biggest killer of young people in the UK, we need to equip children with the tools to understand, manage and express their emotions sooner rather than later.
Not only does emotional literacy give kids the resilience to cope and thrive in adult life, but research has also shown it to boost school attendance and attainment as well.
It is imperative that we work preventatively instead of reactively. Not only is this the right thing to do morally, but it also makes economic sense: mental health problems in adult life cost the NHS £11billion a year.
It's time to put emotional literacy on the UK primary school curriculum.
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