SPHE, [Social Personal Health Education] is the part of our learning that helps us understand our health and well-being. It’s about relationships too.
• teach pupils about self-care
• build self-respect and self-confidence
• teach pupils about respecting others
• give pupils the ability to make good choices in life
Every pupil in primary school learns about SPHE. They learn about three main topics on the curriculum. ‘Myself’. ‘Myself and Others’ and ‘Myself and the Wider World’. However, SPHE is much more than classroom lessons. Teachers teach SPHE in their everyday interactions with children. We know that everything that a teacher does, influences the child’s development and personality.
While the teacher’s work is important, teachers must accept that the role of the home is far more important – particularly in teaching SPHE. Family life is where we really learn about self-care, self-respect, self-confidence, respecting others and making good choices. The adults at home are the ones that the child will most likely learn to copy.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990 states that we all should work together to develop the child’s personality and his physical and mental talents to the best of his ability. We should treat the child as a child but also prepare him to lead a responsible life in a free and peaceful society – one in which everyone is valued – [Article 29].
The children and the school can expect that families will play their part too, Children will be sent to school clean. They will have eaten a breakfast. They will have a clean uniform. Their schoolbag and books will be in order. Their homework will be done, as best they can, and every boy will be as ready as possible to enjoy the morning at school. Where journals are in use in senior classes, parents should sign them. Class DoJo is used throughout the school to share daily positive communication. Class DoJo operates between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. [only] Monday – Friday.
Children and families can expect that the school will play its part. The building will be warm, clean and safe. It will be a place where children can feel welcome and encouraged to learn. Staff will play their part by respecting children, by accepting them and by encouraging them to do their best. The school will work hard to set and maintain high standards of learning. An agreed Code of Behaviour will be operated fairly and consistently by all, to keep everyone safe and to keep everything running well. Teachers will teach the SPHE curriculum, including ‘Walk Tall’, Mindful Matters’ and ‘Stay Safe’.
When thing go well, the child enjoys the day at school and learns as much as he can. At SPHE, the child learns to feel good about his efforts. He learns about food and nutrition, about feelings and emotions and he learns how decisions that he makes, effect himself and others around him. We hope that when things go well for the child, he will grow up to become a responsible and caring adult in our future society.
When things go wrong, the child does not enjoy the day at school. He still learns a lot, but unfortunately, he learns all of the wrong things. In SPHE, if a child does not feel warm and safe at school or if he feels uncared for by his teacher, he will be very unsettled. If his family have not fed him breakfast, provided a fresh clean uniform and ensured that he is washed [skin, hair and teeth], he will also feel unsettled. Any child who is unsettled will not develop a good self-image and his relationships with others will be affected. When things go wrong for the child, he grows up with unpleasant memories of school and he carries this into adult life.
The following questions are intended to help us all think about our children’s experiences of Social, Personal and Health Education – SPHE……
• Are we happy with ‘the way things are done around here’?
• Do we listen to children?
• Do we hear their concerns?
• Do teachers listen to parents?
• Do parents listen to teachers?
• Is everyone doing their best to make the child feel warm, safe, clean, well-fed, well looked-after and ready to experience the success of learning new things?
• Is the child doing his best too?
If you have any worries about your child, about any of the points above or about any other issues, please call to see the class teacher or the principal. If you would like to suggest any changes to the 2022 school policy on SPHE, please drop a line to “BOM SPHE 2022, C/o The Chairperson, Board of Management, Scoil Fhursa, Dublin 5. Your opinion is important and will be brought to the attention of the Board.