By:- Dr. Jayakar Ellis
With an aim to introduce the basic counselling skills for responding to student’s psychological, emotional, and developmental issues and to learn to identify students in need of additional personal counselling, HEART Foundation, a Navi Mumbai based NGO, has launched First Aid in Counselling for Teachers (FACT) project.
The first session was held recently for the pre primary school teachers of Nectar Bud International at Belapur.
“Teachers are often the first to notice or be approached by students with problems. They are in an ideal position to help children with their social and emotional developmental issues since they see pupil regularly over a long period of time and have extensive experience of children’s development. Hence, they can easily identify those children who are experiencing difficulties. However, most teachers have no training and feel unprepared to handle these issues, which can lead to avoiding them altogether,” remarks Dr. Jayakar Ellis, President, HEART Foundation.
“The main purpose of the programme was to equip the teachers to handle emotional issues of the tiny tots at pre- school. The pre primary teachers are the first strangers that a child sees after a protective environment at home. These teachers play an important role in shaping the future of the child. Children are like mud pots. The parents give them the shape and the preschool teachers draw designs which make their behaviour acceptable to society and make the children the successful human beings,” said Mrs. Uma Vaidyanathan, project coordinator and senior volunteer of HEART Foundation.
“It was a very educative and interactive workshop and the teachers learnt about ‘first-aid for mental health’. Mrs. Vaidyanathan shared on the necessities of first-aid’ for the mental health of pre-schoolers and the techniques and skills required for shaping the mental health of the tiny-tots,” said Ameeta Neelakantan, owner of Nectar Bud International.
“It was a learning experience for all the teachers. We were equipped, in a small way, to be able to understand the behavioural pattern of the children and help them as per their requirement,” remarked Priti Dalvi, a teacher.
“The session was interactive which helped us to understand the subject better” said Rebecca Issac, one of the participants of the programme.
HEART will be holding similar sessions in various pre and primary schools of Navi Mumbai. The schools interested in holding a session in their premise may contact: 8080007777/9768040403.