Whether you hated it or loved it, schooldays are an unforgettable part of your life. Though we never realize it while it is happening, our schooldays effectively shaped us into the adults we are today. And it is no wonder, considering that school life is the nucleus of every child’s life. It is where they discover themselves, their interests, likes and dislikes, and abilities and weaknesses. The school and its environment have a huge role in how children develop.

Apart from academic learning, schools are also places where children learn to interact with each other, form social skills and build their first relationships outside of the family. The world inside the walls of a school is entirely different from the world outside it. Most people view schools as places where children get educated, nothing more. But the truth is that schools play a significant role in the mental, physical and academic development of a child.

Considering this reality, we need to make sure that schools are better equipped to foster a safe space for students to learn all the life skills they need to become influential leaders of the future.

Academic Development

The school’s first responsibility is to provide academic education to its students. However, the definition of this responsibility varies across the board. Let’s put it- the school needs to make sure that each student reaches their full potential academically. It is not enough to impart education and consider the job done. It is also imperative that the school supports the reception of education- through using engaging teaching methods, creating festive learning atmospheres, and making the classroom a space conducive to learning and growth.

Different children learn through other methods, and thus education cannot be one size fits all. The school needs to adopt more student-centric approaches that help children explore and learn more independently.

Social Development

For most children, school is the first place they socialize. Children must have positive social experiences, especially at the primary school level. Positive relationships in the school, such as those with teachers, friends, and classmates, open up the mind to new learning experiences. They also ignite excitement and interest in the child to be present in school, which is the first prerequisite to learning. Feeling a sense of safety and belonging is essential for adolescents’ emotional development.

The school also needs to create space for practicing empathy, compassion, and kindness. Today’s students are the adults of tomorrow. If we hope to create a better world, schools need to include activities that foster emotional growth and mental growth. Additionally, having great mark sheets is not enough for a successful career. It is essential that children build confidence, learn to express themselves, and effectively put forth thoughts and ideas. These are skills that they will need in every life arena, including professional life.

Support

Being children requires a lot of support from people they can trust. Children come to school from different households, backgrounds, and financial abilities. Stress from home life can bleed into their school life and create a toxic environment. This will impair the child’s ability to perform academically in school. It might also create behavioral problems or disruptive tendencies. The child may end up creating a toxic environment for himself and as well as those around him.

Teachers and counselors must be trained to spot the early signs of such problems. They also need to be equipped with tools that let them respond empathetically, appropriately, and with kindness. It is easy to punish the child and wish that the problem goes away, but the right solution always lies in communication and support.

Depending on the same factors, all children may go to the same school and do not have access to the same kind of resources and opportunities as others. Thus, the school has an added responsibility to provide a level playing field to its less privileged students. Partnerships with local community organizations, volunteering opportunities for young professionals, and university collaborations that bring aspiring professionals for personal and professional counseling or as support staff are great ways to help support all students.

In any case, we cannot discount the role that schools play in children’s overall development. Children spend the majority of their waking hours with their teachers and classmates. It is where they form their vocabulary of social habits and form their perspective. In other words, they discover themselves and create their own identity based on their experiences in school and at home. Therefore, schools have a huge responsibility to ensure that these experiences are positive, safe, and facilitate growth. A school is not just a place where children attend classes and submit assignments, and it is the first slice of life outside the house. The foundation of our society lies in education. Let’s try to create a better society for us all!

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