What occurs to children in the early years has consequences right through the path of their lives. While there are many occasions to interfere and make a difference to the lives of children and young people, this report suggests that intervening in early childhood is the most effective phase to impact on the future development of the child. This statement explores the factors that effect on life-long health, growth and well-being from environmental, and life path perspectives.
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Early childhood settings plays an important role in promoting health and a feeling of wellbeing for children, their families and ultimately their communities (Hayden & Macdonald, 2000). Therefore the goals of health and wellbeing promotion are supported by parents, staff and early childhood professionals who use early childhood services.
There are multiple aspects or dimensions to general wellbeing. For the purpose of this report it is convenient to identify and discuss the most important six areas of health mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, environmental and social. These six areas are overlapping and interrelated, but together provide a useful framework for thinking about children’s growth and development as health, well-rounded individuals.
The early childhood era sets the phase for how well children view themselves, each other, and their world. Young children actively construct meanings about the world and their place in it, offering alternative but equally valid understandings to adults (Millie & Watson, 2009).
The communication between careers and children work as building blocks for the growth of children as whole (Hayden et al., 2000). In order to share positive experiences of services delivered for the development of six dimensions of health and wellness in respective childcare settings is the intended objective of this report.
2.1 Health: Towards Wellness and the Six Dimensions
Prior to the 1800s, health was simply means the antithesis of sickness (Donatelle, 2006). Therefore, when all parts of body were functioning properly called as a good body having health. However focusing on global health issues at an international conference in 1947, the World Health Organization (WHO) took a landmark step and clarified that what health truly meant: “Health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (Donatelle, 2006). According to Donatelle (2006), Health is complex and involves the interaction of variegated factors, which includes;
Physical refers to the capability of human body structure to function properly
Social refers to the capability to interact with other individuals
Mental refers to the capability to process information and act properly
Emotional refers to the capability to cope, adjust, and adapt
Spiritual refers to conviction in some force or dynamic other than humans
Environmental consist of
· External: refers to one’s surroundings (e.g., habitat, occupation)
· Internal: refers to an individual’s internal structure (e.g., genetics)
Achieving wellness means attaining the optimal level of wellness for a given person’s unique set of limitations and strengths (Donatelle, 2006).
2.2 Wellness and Wellbeing: The importance in early childhood
One of the greatest indicators of health and wellness in a community is the extent to which it nurtures healthy children, as they will become the healthy adults citizens who make communities vibrant (McMurray, 2007).
While we have long recognized that early experiences have an effect on later life, new findings from longitudinal studies and new brain conceivable techniques, are showing that the initial years of life are serious in the purpose of physical, neurological, cognitive, emotional and social growth (Ferber, 1996). In the meantime, studies on social determinants have exposed that enduring health and well-being is predisposed not only by heredity and lifestyle, but also by economic, social and other environmental factors (McMurray, 2007). These findings recommend that accountability for health extends beyond health check professionals: doctors and nurses. Those who are concerned with promoting healthy environments may be uniformly significant in guiding health outcomes. Early childhood professionals are comprehensible contributors in this ground.
3. Six Dimensions of Wellness
The six dimensions of wellness interact continuously, influencing and being influenced by one another.
For example, spiritual wellness is associated with social skills, which can help build interpersonal relationships, which are in turn linked to physical wellness and longer life expectancy. The self-esteem that comes with emotional wellness is associated with increased physical activity and healthy eating habits, which support physical wellness.
3.1 Physical wellness
Physical wellness is basically the overall well being of a person’s physical state. This dimension includes characteristics such as size and shape, sensory acuity and responsiveness, susceptibility to disease and disorders, body functioning, physical fitness, and recuperative abilities (Donatelle, 2006).
For good health, children need physical activity. Being active promotes healthy frame, strength and joints, builds patience and muscle force, makes it easier to uphold a healthy load, increases power, and even fosters self-respect.
Children of all ages need and want places to play. To support the variety of their physical activities, they need many types of entertaining facilities, both public and private, near their homes and schools (Sallis & Glanz, 2006). Children may spend more time being immobile indoors, where they remain inactive. These inactive behaviours such as television viewing and videos are dangerous factors for obesity in youth and reducing such behaviours is another strategy for preventing weight gain in children. Similarly using less fruits and vegetables and greater dependence on convenience foods and fast foods contribute to the epidemic of childhood obesity (Sallis et al., 2006).
3.1.1 Experience of our childcare Centre
The standard length of reside in a children’s home is making an impact on individual students, so we recognize it as a challenge. We created modified tactics to give confidence to children (and staff) to eat at smallest amount five servings of fruit and vegetables each day and to connect in one hour of physical activity which consist of play and fun, five days a week. The center also provides hands-on training for forefront staff that helped those serves as role models for healthy performance. The center produced partnerships with other group of people organizations to offer nutrition-related services.
3.2 Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness is an active condition that fluctuates with corporeal, academic, spiritual, interpersonal and social, and environmental wellness (Donatelle, 2006). Sound health results from the contentment of basic needs – the need for kindness and love; safety and clarity; social acknowledgment; to feel capable; physical needs and for meaning in life. It includes happiness and happiness, efficient social functioning and the dispositions of hopefulness, openness, curiosity and flexibility (Hood, 2009).
The infants achieve their satisfaction of basic needs by: attaching themselves to individual and groups of people who can help them survive and to find out how things around them work; to explore their soundings, so they can eventually learn to keep themselves safe and meet their own needs. And since these two behaviours are so fundamental, not achieving success with them causes distress (emotional dysregulation), which, if sustained, affects mental health (Hood, 2009).
3.2.1 Experience of our childcare center: considerations of Emotional Wellness – Promotion, Prevention, and Intervention
Staff at our center provides opportunity for involvement and plans with careful notice that successfully maintains emotional wellness.
We provide emotionally supportive environment by holding and singing to infants and play with toddlers, and pay attention to and monitor preschoolers vigilantly.
We display problem solving skills by using role play indicating words and verbal communication with toddlers, and assist possible group discussions that direct problem solving skills with preschoolers.
Prevent a lack of communication with families – We do proper planning for sharing strategies and information with families to better understand children’s likeness and dislikesness attitudes.
Avoid escalated situations – We do appropriate planning to make sure that all actors of working group have ordinary visions for anticipation, intrusion and endorsement to provide a complete support scheme.
Awareness of interventions services – We keep alert ourselves from the need of intervention services such as mental health and child wellbeing agencies, early intervention programs, and medical intervention services for high threat situations.
Construct successful collaborations – We provide documented information to the intervention service program to provide a complete picture of the child’s needs in order that they correspond efficiently with one another and employ follow up strategies.
3.3 Intellectual Wellness
The uniqueness of intellectual health include the ability to think clearly, reason impartially, examine seriously, and use ‘intelligence’ effectively to meet life challenges. Academic health means learning from successes and mistakes and making sound, responsible decisions that take into deliberation all aspects of a situation (Donatelle, 2006).
Children have a talent for being inquisitive about everything around them. So the caregivers should try to regain this inquisitiveness about the world and will be astonished at how much children will learn.
3.3.1 Experience of our childcare center
Our center’s services in this dimension of wellness are not exhaustive; however we try to improve children’s intellectual wellness. To make an action plan to improve children intellectual wellness, we discover issues related to problem solving, originality, individuality, and learning. We try to figure out to children to read for fun! By choosing books for fun (like filling colours in figures), so they not only gain knowledge of about an exacting topic or concentration, but also learn about how others express themselves.
3.4 Spiritual Wellness
According to Bone (2008) Spirituality is a term with many definitions and means different things to different people and often confused with religion but my definition of spirituality is a
â€¦â€¦..means of connecting people to all things, to nature and the universe. Spirituality adds to my appreciation of the wonder and mystery in everyday life.
It alerts me to the possibility for love, happiness, goodness, peace and
compassion in the world.
Spiritual wellness refers to integrating our beliefs and values with our actions (Donatelle, 2006). A sense of purpose, direction, and awareness form spirituality.
3.4.1 Experience of our childcare center
To develop spirituality in children we teach them through fun play and demonstrations and mutual dealings in the setting;
To forgive, we replace condemnation or judgmentalism.
To love, we replace hatred.
To share or to be generous we replace selfishness.
To be compassionate, we replace intolerance.
To speak kind words we replace contentiousness and meanness.
3.5 Social wellness and wellbeing
Social health is a part of psychosocial health which includes our interactions with others and our ability to adopt to range of social situations (Donatelle, 2006). Social wellness is a significant part in every person’s life, above all because it helps him be familiar with his normal interdependence with others, despite of the relationship. Donatelle (2006) maintains that people who are more connected to others manage stress more effectively and are much more resilient when they are bombard by life crisis. The shortage of social wellness frequently leads to disruptive behavior and causes incapability to regulate in social environment.
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The teachers’ openness to children, parents, and the cultures represented in their classroom influences their overall effectiveness in teaching and their ability to foster children’s social development particularly. When teachers use these strategies, they are more effective in promoting children’s social competence and maintaining a positive learning environment. Therefore, the content of teacher-child interaction should be predominantly related to activities, learning, investigations, and plans (Katz & McClellan, 1997).
3.5.1 Experience of our childcare center
To develop social wellness, behaviours, and attitudes of children we take the following important steps:
Reach out: Offering friendship environment to children as a first step to social wellness- where children of different cultural and social setups interact with each other for knowing and understanding of their mutual needs and develop mutual cooperative attitudes.
Promote chosen relationships: Promoting the relationship built between various children and to stay in healthy relationships. These relationships involve children who care about one another and their wellbeing. Since there is trust and compassion, one feels secure and contented, two vital elements for social wellness.
Communicate effectively: Effective communication is a first step of initiation of relationship – a vital component of social wellness; therefore, we remain in constant interaction with children through play and fun to develop their skills for effective communications.
3.6 Environmental wellness
Environmental Wellness means having an understanding of the exterior environment and the role persons play in preserving and improving environmental circumstances. (Donatelle, 2006). An understanding of these connections can be fostered during the early childhood years through play, productive work and daily routines. (Young & Elliot, 2003).
Opportunities to directly explore the world with all senses are paramount to a child’s understanding of their connections to the environment. The role of the adult is crucial in interpreting these connections, both verbally and physically, and in exploring the values that underpin sustainable lifestyles (Young & Elliot, 2003).
3.6.1 Experience of our childcare center
Our focus on this dimension of wellness and well being is not much thorough; nevertheless we try to give messages to children through play and fun activities relating to:
Don’t leave water running – Demonstrate children about scarcity of water resources and better use of water in daily life.
Use of recycled paper bags when shopping – To realize children to use paper bags and avoid use of plastic bags due to different biodegradable features of both.
Use waste material for play experiences whenever possible – such as cloth for sewing, and polishing etc.
Care for plants by watering as needed.
Children change and develop in response to these different health dimensions, so the developmental process plays an important role in shaping and determining their future health and wellbeing.
It can be concluded that intervening early in the life course has the greatest prospective to stop or considerably improve some of the health and wellbeing troubles seen in adult life. The most direct way of improving outcomes in childhood and thus influencing the life course is to ensure that all caretaking environments in the early years are consistently nourishing, stimulating, and organize the health and developmental requirements of young children. Therefore when young children spend time outside the home, the caretaking environment needs to be the best we can make it.
Following the conclusion it is recommended that childcare needs to be conceptualised as an opportunity for learning and socialisation rather than child minding. Actions and policies need to focus on creating a quality early learning environment; this means having staff with appropriate qualifications and training, and child/staff ratios that are appropriate to the developmental needs of the child.
Universal and primary care services across the health proportions and education sectors need to be better coordinated with one another, in order to direct various environmental risk factors and respond to the complex needs of children and their families. These services need to be more adaptable, so that they can react to the emerging needs and problems of children’s health and wellness.
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