Authors and Editors of SPHE publications with Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon

The SPHE Network publication Understanding Wellbeing in Changing Times: the Role of SPHE was launched by Dr. Niall Muldoon (Ombudsman for Children) on the 10th February in St. Patrick’s College. On the night he spoke about the importance of mental wellbeing, and building children’s and young people’s capacity to deal with the trials and tribulations that life inevitably throws at us.

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Three members of the SPHE Network recently presented papers at an international conference on racism hosted by the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES) at the University of Edinburgh.   The conference, which focused on confronting racial inequality through education and action, explored contemporary discourses, theories, policies and practices from a diversity of educational contexts and settings.

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This short blog addresses how SPHE is used to teach students about life, namely, bereavement (e.g., death, separation, loss of a friendship, moving to a new home). Also addressed is the new policy document ‘Wellbeing in Schools’ (DES, 2015), peer-support programmes Rainbows and Seasons for Growth, and curricular programme Zippy’s Friends.

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SPHE is not simply a subject on the curriculum. It involves discrete lessons but also applying the learning throughout the school day. Most importantly it shapes the ethos of the school. The values, attitudes, knowledge and skills which the staff want the children to learn shape the way the school community organises itself, so that those values are experienced and lived by the children. Care, support, listening, emotional awareness and communication are core values and skills in the SPHE curriculum and in the school which prioritises SPHE .

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Every month, members of the SPHE Network share their thoughts on relevant developments, policies, events or resources in the areas of social, personal and health education. We are delighted to publish our inaugural blog post from Professor Mark Morgan, Cregan Professor of Education & Psychology, St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra.

In comparison to many countries which have tried to ensure that their holistic school programmes convey the right message, with the title SPHE, we got it so right! Virtually every education system in the world recognises the need for a social/emotional/personal/health dimension to education and the title reflects an emphasis in each case. In some countries the label is Social-Emotional Learning, while in others the title is SEAL (Social Emotional and Academic Learning). With Social, Personal and Health Education we have combined more relevant strands than other countries in a way that is totally consistent with recent research findings.

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