Promoting wellbeing and learning in the middle years: an opportune time for intervention
The middle years (8-14 years) are a significant phase of development. Puberty dominates this period, bringing a cascade of physical and biological changes, as well as changes in brain structure and function. This is also a time of rapid social and emotional growth. Whilst this growth brings many opportunities, it can also be destabilising for some young people; negatively impacting their long-term health, wellbeing and learning.
In 2018, The Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) produced two reports for the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training (DET) on ‘Student Wellbeing, Engagement and Learning across the Middle Years’ and ‘The Effects on Schooling Outcomes of Early Developmental Vulnerabilities in Children’. The findings showed that many students aged 9-11 had emotional and behavioural problems, and more than 1 in 5 students were affected by bullying for multiple years. This is very important because it is during these years that an individual’s identity emerges. The findings from these reports emphasise the opportunity and need for increased support for this age group.
This policy brief outlines the importance of the middle years and recommends methods for policy makers, schools and educators to promote wellbeing and school engagement during this phase of development. It recommends that all states and territories introduce a health promoting framework aimed at strengthening curriculum around social and emotional learning, improving the primary to secondary school transition, and enabling more effective links between education and health services.
For more information about the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) visit our website: https://cats.mcri.edu.au