The gap between what is known and what is delivered to children in the National Curriculum is every widening.
For example: children learning about and looking after their bodies (1), their emotions (2) and their minds (3).
(1) Physiology scientists know more about the body, yet the National Curriculum focus is not on the knowledge and the skills children need to be genuinely supported in learning about and looking after the body.
(2) Psychologists know more about how to develop emotional resilience (EQ if you like), but the knowledge is not applied to the learning set up in a consistent and intentional way so children are not getting the emotional development they could be getting.
(3) Cognitive neuroscientists know so much more about how the brain learns and therefore, how teachers can facilitate learning so that children can learn the way the brain works – it is not happening
Given the urgent challenges facing individuals in today’s fast moving and everchanging society, the sooner the National Curriculum gets its act together the better.
Digital NHS UK states adult overweight/obesity in 2018 as 67% men and 60% women
On present trends, the vast majority of our children will be overweight or obese in their adult life – and expect one or more diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia to blight their lives and reduce their life expectancy.
The government’s ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’ created in August 2016 [Updated January 2017] is making no significant difference to curb the inexorable increase in obesity in children.
With no appreciable difference being made to counter the increasing numbers of children becoming obese, all the reports and government exhortations to improve children’s health are tilting at windmills.
The radical solution is to raise the attention and focus on fitness and health.
MAC does this by increasing the attention to children’s fitness and health as one of nine priority themes through which all learning is channelled.
The Body Theme tackles children’s fitness and health in a relentless and focused whole curriculum approach.
criticises ministers for not delivering on pledges made in recent years
warns that more urgency, commitment and cohesion is required
The National Audit Office website states:
In 2018/19, nearly one tenth of 4 to 5 year olds and more than one fifth of 10 to 11 year olds were classified obese. We estimate that roughly 1.4 million children aged from 2 to 15 years old were classified obese in 2018. Not only is obesity increasing for 10 to 11 year olds, it is increasing even faster for children in deprived areas.
We owe it to our children to give them the knowledge and skills they need to grow up leading healthy lives. Life-based learning priorities bodily health. It builds in to the timetable regular physical activity. Children spend time learning about their bodies and how to look after them.
The report provides “evidence on the links between weight status and Covid-19 outcomes”, but also places the link firmly in the context of how destructive overweight is on health. “Living with excess weight is a risk factor for a range of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, many cancers, liver and respiratory disease. Obesity is also associated with reduced life expectancy, and lower quality of life.”
Whilst there are overweight people due to medical conditions, and anorexics may take the government’s campaign to heart by eating even less, the overweight epidemic is very much a life-style condition across all sectors of society.
From the Life-Based Learning Forum perspective, the campaign to combat obesity needs to start with schools — not just as an add-on to the curriculum, but central to it. For example, knowing about and looking after the body is one of nine life themes through which everything is taught. Only by direct focus and attention in the education of the young can there be any hope of slimming down the population.
A YouGov survey indicates that 82% of the British people would prefer the government to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic growth during the current coronavirus emergency. It also suggests that 61% of people would choose improved social and environmental outcomes over economic growth even when the pandemic finally subsides.
The survey was commissioned by a campaigning group called Positive Money and features in a new report called The Tragedy of Growth.
It is the integration of all three that makes
for a positive, lively human being.
The human being is more than the sum of their parts. The person is defined by more than their physical attributes, more than their emotional dynamic and more than the mind’s processes.
At the centre of every individual is their life spark, their anchor point, their sense of being. Whatever the physical, emotional or mind task being engaged in, it is essential always to relate children to their inner core.
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