What is Kindergarten in the eyes of the parents?

As a kindergarten worker I am sometimes baffled how some parents think that a kindergarten is just a place where you leave your child for 5-8 hours and then come back. Kindergarten is not your garden-variety “child park” its a place for education and holistic growth of the children.

Lue lisää What is Kindergarten in the eyes of the parents?

Home but NOT home

When I researched for the definition of home, I couldn’t find a clear definition. But what I did find is that everyone has their own definition of home. Most common answers were that home is a place where you are safe where your family is. In an article that I read, I found an answer that I thought was fitting for my topic in this blog post:

“Only three words: safety, security, stability.” — Kathy (Habitat for humanity)

Lue lisää Home but NOT home
Sandy L

Playing is, perhaps, the most effective way for a child to learn. Play promotes children’s development, learning and general well-being. During play, children develop understanding about themselves and other people. Through playing, children can process whatever is going on in their lives. Imagination allows children to experience different roles and ideas.

(lisää…)

No place like home – Our last blog

The process of writing blog posts was completely new for us and it turned out to be a very nice experience. In our blog posts, we covered homelessness from various points of view, not only in Finland but also all over Europe, developing countries, Asia, USA, etc. We gained a wider perspective about the situation in each place and how policies and other factors affect homelessness and how we can help improve the situation.  

Lue lisää No place like home – Our last blog

Hope for all

People are from different place and migration makes us live in a different environment than where we were born, lived our childhood or adulthood. It changes our perspective of life, norms and values. igration influence can be both positive and negative on the societal and individual level, shaping an individual in all perspective.

Lue lisää Hope for all

Exerting influence

Our task for this course was to exert influence. Influence according to Cambridge dictionary is “the power to have an effect on people or things”(No name, nd). Exerting is described “to use something such as  authority, power, influence, etc. in order to make something happen.” (No name, Nd) . Both of these definitions have negative sound in them. In the social services field there many of the workers use their power to evert influence in a negative way. Usually we are working with clients that are vulnerable under our influence. How we use this power of ours depends on a person. Many articles have been written on neglection. I found one article from Yle uutiset web page. There were stories about how parents who have lost their disabled children due to wrong or uncaring treatment see us care givers in social field. I have also witnessed mishandling from caregiver to autistic child.

Lue lisää Exerting influence

Being a child of an immigrant

My friend linked me this article about being a child of immigrants. It’s interesting to see how all of us who have immigrant parents, have kind of had the same childhood. No matter where we live at. In this article there were quotes from different children with immigrant parents. One of them stuck out to me: 

“A lot of the time, being a child of immigrants means constantly having to defend your place as an ‘American,” – Alex Santana.

Lue lisää Being a child of an immigrant

Important Role

During recent decades, there has been a significant improvement in people’s physical wellbeing. Never before, has the Finnish population been as healthy as they are now. Unfortunately, this kind of progress is not seen in mental wellbeing.  This is somehow ambivalent, as physical – and mental wellbeing often go hand in hand. What could be the reasons behind the phenomenon? Partly, because of the changes in diagnostic in the last 3 or 4 decades, the statistics are misleading, but surely, partly to blame is the changing working life with its demands, interruptions, and uncertainty. Blame is also put to media and the virtual world, as they are weakening people`s ability to see reality. This together with weakened norms and values, could be damaging especially for the younger generation, who are still seeking their identity. (Psykiatria, 2017)

Depression is one of the most overloading disorder among population, and the most significant risk factor are harmful experiences in childhood.

Without preventing measures, 60 % of children of the depressed parent will have some mental disorder before their 25th birthday. Risk factors are often accumulating to certain families, while others are enjoying growing wellbeing.

Among parent`s mental illness, poverty, substance abuse, loneliness and being bullied in school, are increasing the risk to develop a mental disorder.

Despite these dark facts, it is possible to effectively prevent mental problems, and most of these acts could be implemented at relatively low cost. Some of the effective and proven social measures to prevent mental problems are listed in the book published by Duodecim: Improved nutrition and living, promoting access to education, reduction of the disadvantages caused by unemployment, strengthening safety nets, reduction of substance abuse and violent, pre-schoolers psychosocial support, child friendly school environment, and preventive mental health programs in schools, have all proved to be effective ways to protect mental wellbeing. (Psykiatria, 2017)

Early intervention to mental problems in schools and families should be a norm, and discussion therapy in schools has brought promising results. One good example is from Ruutana`s elementary school in Kangasala region, where a successful pilot program has been in a run: A few years ago, they hired a socionom as an education provider. Among offering discussion help for school kids, her task is to give support and help with various issues and solve arguments. She is also giving a lecture for each class on a weekly basis to promote emotional skills, as well as social-, – and group forming skills. An education provider also has a big role in preventing exclusion and bullying.

Despite very promising results, these kinds of education providers are currently working in a very small number of schools.  But who knows, this might be a future profession for some of us social service students. However, works one of us as an education provider, kindergarden teacher, with immigrants, elderly, disabled or mentally ill in the future, I believe we all will have an important and responsible role preventing exclusion and promoting mental wellbeing. And thereby each one of us can do their part to turn the track to the direction with the development of physical health. And we should not forget how much small things matter: Often listening and being present can be a turning point for someone.

References:

Minna Lahti huolehtii, että opettajat voivat keskittyä opettamiseen – Ruutanan koulussa kasvatusohjaaja hoitaa lasten riitojen selvittelyn https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-11056943

https://mieli.fi/fi/yhteiskunta/suomalaisten-mielenterveys-ei-ole-kohentunut-fyysisen-terveyden-tahtiin

Psykiatria, 12. painos, Jouko Lönnqvist,Markus Henriksson, Mauri Marttunen, Timo Partonen, 2017, Kustannus Oy Duodecim