Health and Well-being
The Health and Well-being Area of Learning and Experience (Area) provides a holistic structure for understanding health and well-being. It is concerned with developing the capacity of learners to navigate life's opportunities and challenges. The fundamental components of this Area are physical health and development, mental health, and emotional and social well-being. It will support learners to understand and appreciate how the different components of health and well-being are interconnected, and it recognises that good health and well-being are important to enable successful learning.
Engagement with this Area will help to foster a whole-school approach that enables health and well-being to permeate all aspects of school life.
What matters in this Area has been expressed in five statements which support and complement one another and should not be viewed in isolation. In order to achieve this holistic approach, teachers should seek to draw across all five statements when planning activities. Together they contribute to realising the four purposes of the curriculum.
What Matters Statements
- Developing physical health and well-being has lifelong benefits
This Area can help learners to understand the factors that affect physical health and well-being. This includes health-promoting behaviours such as physical activity, including but not limited to sport; balanced diet; personal care and hygiene; sleep; and protection from infection. It also includes an understanding of health-harming behaviours.
From this understanding, learners can develop positive, informed behaviours that encourage them both to care for and respect themselves and others. These behaviours support learners’ sense of self-worth, their overall mood and energy levels.
- How we process and respond to our experiences affects our mental health and emotional well-being
This Area can help learners explore the connections between their experiences, mental health and emotional well-being. By being provided with opportunities to explore the complexities of these connections, learners can be enabled to recognise that feelings and emotions are neither fixed nor consistent.
Having an awareness of our own feelings and emotions is the foundation upon which empathy can be developed. This can enable us to act in a way which supports the mental health and emotional well-being of others. Supporting learners to develop strategies which help them to regulate their emotions can contribute towards good mental health and emotional well-being.
- Our decision-making impacts on the quality of our lives and the lives of others.
This Area can help learners to understand how decisions and actions impact on themselves, on others and on wider society, both now and in the future. It can also help learners understand the factors that influence decision-making, thus placing them in a better position to make more informed and considered decisions.
- How we engage with social influences shapes who we are and affects our health and well-being.
This Area can help learners understand the important role of social influences on their lives. These influences are comprised of rules, social norms, attitudes and values that are created and reinforced by different social groups. It is through interaction with social groups that we experience these influences. They affect our identity, values, behaviours and health and well-being, and often do so without our being aware of it.
- Healthy relationships are fundamental to our well-being.
This Area can help learners understand and value how feelings of belonging and connection that come from healthy relationships have a powerful effect on health well-being.