Integrated Mental Health Promotion

Early childhood settings

Children’s learning is dynamic, complex and holistic. Their mental health and wellbeing is interrelated to their physical, social, personal, spiritual, creative, cognitive and linguistic learning. Integrated mental health planning is therefore a core part of educators’ everyday practice. It is not an add-on.

How can early childhood education and care settings integrate mental health promotion?

Holistic approaches to teaching and learning recognise the connectedness of mind, body and spirit. While educators may plan or assess with a focus on a particular outcome or component of learning, they see children’s learning as integrated and interconnected. An integrated, holistic approach to teaching and learning also focuses on connections to the natural world. These approaches are essential in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in children.

When early childhood professionals take a holistic approach to children’s learning and development they also promote their positive mental health and wellbeing. They do this when they:

  • pay attention to children’s physical, personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as cognitive aspects of learning
  • recognise the connections between children, families and communities and the importance of reciprocal relationships and partnerships for learning
  • see learning as a social activity and value collaborative learning and community participation
  • foster children’s capacity to understand and respect the natural environment and the interdependence between people, plants, animals and the land.

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