Importance of Self-care in School
It has been recognised that personal care and academic progress are linked. The physical, emotional, cognitive and social elements of a person’s life cannot, realistically, be treated in isolation. According to Sheila Bethel, expert on leadership and change “Students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Effective academic learning, within the context of a school, cannot be separated from the exercise of effective personal care.
What is self-care?
Self-care is defined as the commitment of a learner to his or her own growth and well-being through mutual cooperation and support from peers. It focuses on cultivating an environment and culture that supports the physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development of every student.
How to provide personal care at school?
Self-care includes proactive elements such as developing skills that build resilience, teamwork, respect and participation. Let us look at the ways in which teachers can help students develop a self-caring attitude at school.
- Students should be made aware of personal healthcare. School education should help develop good habits such as hygiene, resting well, avoiding alcohol and drugs, healthy eating habits and physical exercise. Keeping the body healthy helps manage mental health efficiently.
- Teachers can help students develop knowledge and skills in order to prevent or address specific problems such as bullying and sexual harassment. Students should be made aware of the language and actions involved, and the motivations behind such problems. They should also be taught positive communication skills so as to create a healthy environment for child development.
- Tracking individual student progress, both in terms of academic and social-emotional development, can also help foster self-care in students. This helps the teachers understand each student’s needs and cater to them individually by setting personal goals.
- Providing counseling and comfort is another way of inducing self-care. Several students deal with anxiety or disappointment, or even severe cases of trauma. Teachers can help them with self-expression. They can also help such students deal with certain things that they might have trouble discussing with their parents.
- Celebrating students’ achievements and contributions (not just in terms of academic success) is important to motivate them, help them understand that personal growth is more important than the statistics of academic achievement. Even words of praise build self-confidence and motivate them to work hard.
- Team-building activities, such as working together on service projects, can help not only in developing communication and collaboration skills but also in defining personal and group objectives. They can help students break down personal barriers and foster creativity and problem-solving skills. This can also be done by facilitating peer support programs, where the needs of each student is taken care by their peers.
- Inculcating moral and cultural values in students through Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education is another way of promoting self-care in learners. It is helpful to organise activities and field-work to help students learn about themselves and discover the complex relationships between personal ethics, communal faith and cultural laws and values through experience.
These methods can, therefore, be instrumental in developing self-care in learners and aid their overall development, thus helping them be an important part of the future societies.