New blueprint for primary schools is a major success

Louise Hickey

It can be refreshing to hear people share stories of their own experiences with mental health. It’s nice to know we’re not alone and raise awareness for where we can go to get help. 

What’s not so pleasant is hearing older generations refer to these people as ‘snowflakes’. They talk down about young people coming forward. 

“Sure back in my day there was none of that crap”. “Young people these days are so sensitive”. 

It frustrates me to hear such statements, but no matter how much you defend your beliefs, there’s no getting through to these people. 

The truth is that they’re so scarred from the past, where it was shameful to come forward with mental health problems. Instead of being immediately angered with this particular group, you have to give them some pity. 

It’s not that the rates of self-harm and suicide have increased, it’s just that the rates went unnoticed before. 

I noticed the Irish Times provided coverage on the new primary school curriculum, where they wrote “pupils are also more anxious and have a much greater level of identified additional needs”. That’s inaccurate really.

It’s not that people are suddenly sensitive. It’s just that we have come forward from a time when emotions were covered over with a blanket of dust. 

The new primary school curriculum publishing early this year aims to keep up to date with these changing times. It’s an educational change that I warmly welcome. 

The new curriculum puts more of an emphasis on mental health and less on religion. 

There will only be two hours spent on religion, as opposed to 2.5 hours a week. Three hours a week will be spent on wellbeing. 

English will be given an allocation of three hours, 45 minutes a week, Irish three hours, Maths four hours. 

With wellbeing up on receiving near the same amount of time as some of the schools core subjects, its importance is truly demonstrated. 

This will teach upcoming generations that wellbeing is just as important as any other academic subject. It normalises a problem which was deep rooted in shame for so long.

Louise Hickey

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