‘Happiness’ Lessons For Children as Young as Five Years Old

The Telegraph has reported today on a new initiative which will see children as young as 5 years old receiving an hour’s lesson on ‘happiness’ once a week. The report is challenging schools behaviour and damming them as ‘exam factories’.

Children’s wellbeing is being questioned by former ministers and government advisors and there is a call for radical changes to how a British pupil is bought up.

The report says that mental health problems are rife with one in four children being diagnoses with conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Prof Lord Darzi and Prof Lord Layard want to see ‘life skills’ given the same attention as reading and writing in education which would infer huge changes.

The proposals they have would see children as young as five years old spending at least one hour a week talking about their emotions, social media, positive life goals and learning to cope with every day pressures.

This approach has been pioneered by Wellington College in Berkshire but is not used widely at the moment. This report calls for that to change.

There is also an emphasis on early treatment and help for children showing signs of mental distress. The report continues to express how not only is it inhumane to not offer counselling when needed but it is also economically inefficient. A modern lifestyle is heaping pressures on young people without caring and nurturing their development. This is damaging them further in life and could affect their successes.

International research, looking at 270,000 children enrolled in programmes to develop social and emotional skills found a 10% gain in behaviour, academic performance and skills. At the same time it was reported that schools which push children too hard can end up with worse academic results as well as damaging their pupils.

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, says that we have a ‘moral mission’ to provide compassion and support to children suffering with mental health concerns and children need to be prepared for adult life in modern Britain.