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Supporting Mental Health and Well-being in Childhood

Increasingly, we are seeing more and more children being hindered with mental health issues that affect their quality of life including social interactions, physical health and overall wellbeing. Early educators are in a unique and powerful position to be able to support children in gaining an awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Educating children by teaching practical strategies to recognise and manage their emotions will benefit children now and into their future adult lives.

“Statistics indicate that 25.7% of children under 8 years suffer from anxiety and every educator is more than aware of the rising incidence of anger and aggression in children. What aren’t as obvious are the silent confidence sappers such as body dislike, self-rejection, loneliness and social rejection.” (Irvine, 2018) 

Being able to recognise and embrace our emotions, as well as having teachers and educators who can help navigate the rapidly changing 21st century landscape is essential in making sure children can advance in all phases of educational growth. 

Educators see the increasing urgency to actively address the emotional needs of children in order for them to feel an overall sense of wellbeing and happiness. Targeting high-risk groups is essential as it opens possibilities to provide treatment and preventative programs to those who need it most and ensure resources are efficiently employed, however essentially it is important for each and every child to be educated on their own mental health and wellbeing.

The WorryWoos™ Developing Emotional Intelligence Programme is the only educational tool specifically designed to deal with the full gamut of both intrapersonal and interpersonal emotional development. Using a team of fun and engaging plush toys, the emotions themselves are turned into lovable quirky characters that embark on delightful journeys of self-awareness. Children are then able to connect to the emotional challenges of each WorryWoos™ character.

Wince – Anxiety & Depression

Nola – Loneliness, Rejection, Bullying & Grief

Rue – Body Image & Self-Esteem

Zelly – Jealousy, Envy & Bullying

Squeek – Self Confidence & Shyness

Fuddle – Self Confidence & Assertion

Twitch – Anger & Frustration

Created to promote healthy emotional wellness, each WorryWoo adventure concludes with an upbeat message and presents the perfect opportunity and platform to openly discuss topics relating to their emotional development.

Research on the WorryWoos™ conducted in 2018, with a sample size of over 1,000 children who were involved in the programme showed highly significant improvements in children’s pro-social behaviours, their overall ability to understand and manage emotional difficulties, intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, emotional awareness, empathy and resilience. Children also showed significantly less difficulties in internalising and externalising difficulties.

With WorryWoos™, educators can empower children to gain a deeper understanding of their emotional intelligence which will positively impact them now and into their future.

“Emotional Intelligence is broadly defined as being able to recognise, understand and manage our emotions. It is just as important as a child’s academic ability and in fact, is a better predictor of happiness and success in life.” — Dr. John Irvine

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Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). (2011). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Sydney: ACECQA.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. ACT: Council of Australian Governments: Commonwealth of Australia.

Irvine, J. & Bloffwitch, J. (2018) A Pilot Study: The Impact of the WorryWoos™ Developing Emotional Intelligence Programme on Children’s Social and Emotional Literacy and Regulation.

Sawyer, M., Arney, F., Baghurst, P., Clark, J., Graetz, R., Kosky, R., Nurcombe, B., Patton, G., Prior, M., Raphael, B., Rey, J., Whaites, L. & Zubrick, S. (2001). The mental health of young people in Australia: key findings from the child and adolescent component of the national survey of mental health and well-being. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 35(6):806-14


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