Time to ‘go big’ on the curriculum

A letter from Emma Haddleton.

It does seem extraordinary that all young humans don’t currently learn (or are educated) about themselves, their brains, their feelings, their thoughts and behaviours. There are of course are some superb packages and programs within schools which tend to focus on feelings (anxiety for example). Is it time for Psychology to make the switch from being a fringe science, which you can only learn from GCSE onwards, or come across if you need support and help whilst still a child, to being available to all?

Imagine a society where each person had the tools to understand something more about what and how their (and other people’s) mind, emotions and behaviours operate. If this knowledge was developed from a very early age, challenges could be managed and understood more readily as they occurred. It wouldn’t solve everything, but it would certainly be a strong stepping stone in the right direction.

Could we be brave and embed Psychology into the school curriculum from Reception right through the school system? In the same way Chemistry and Biology went from Natural History and Life Sciences into discrete subjects taught to very young children onwards, Psychology is now grown up enough to be a core subject. The beauty of Psychology of course, being that developmentally we know which concepts to share and explain at each age and stage.

I can of course see the reams of arguments saying there isn’t room on the curriculum - and that understanding oneself is already squeezed into PSHE lessons (Growth Mindset is a regular item). But this is about moving from pockets of great work into a comprehensive curriculum approach (with a pilot study of course to inform and amend before full roll out).

A psychologically informed and literate society could be a game changer for how we all interact with each other and how we structure our institutions of governance and service. Post Covid we’re all looking to make some changes and improvements. Shall we collectively, as Psychologists go big?

Emma Haddleton
CEO haddletonknight.com

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