Wellbeing in the Early Years has been defined as ‘good mental and physical health, including attachment, positive affect and self-regulation, being able to manage emotions productively and build resilience and persistence, being adaptable and confident and expressing feelings of satisfaction and happiness’ VEYLDF 2016, p.23.
The Wayapa Educational Framework supports educational professionals to broaden their understanding of wellbeing.
Current conversations in early years education regarding wellbeing generally involve facilitating children’s capacity to strengthen their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, whilst increasingly taking more responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing, as identified in the EYLF.
However, a key aspiration for the founders of Wayapa is to expand our priorities to join another piece to the wellbeing puzzle. To place in the forefront of our thinking the concept of considering the wellbeing of mother earth. For if she is not well, then we cannot be well too.
Within education, we join the concept of sustainability into our thoughts on wellbeing. This priority in thinking gives rise to the holistic elements of Earth, mind, body, spirit wellbeing, that Wayapa prides in nurturing through the gift of ancient wisdom, narrative meditation and movement practice.
The program develops knowledge, skills and dispositions that enable children to increase their ability to self-regulate their own pathway to wellbeing and improve mental health. By exploring, valuing, and acknowledging each-others’ strengths, diversity and cultural connections to our natural environment.
Enhanced interpersonal interactions support children to grow in their capacity to navigate social challenges, develop emotional resilience and grow self- concepts as capable learners and shared participants in creating change that positively effects the world around them.
The program therefore supports the development of wellbeing literacy that provides a common language of learning that fosters community engagement and increases participation for children by expanding opportunities of engagement with both verbal and non-verbal modes of expression.
Therefore, providing various opportunities for children to become more connected to themselves, others’ and their natural environment. We know that children are naturally mindful.When they are in the flow of play they are ‘present’. The program enables a context for learning that is congruent with their desire to explore, notice and move.
Children learn as they explore and navigate the world around them.
Wayapa enables a context for learning that highlights the inter-dependence of all living things and can be integrated in everyday experiences whether it be noticing a spider web, listening to the wind or noticing that the garden needs more rain.
Wayapa does not have a destination to be arrived at, it is a way of being and doing that re-connects us to mother nature. The program facilitates and supports harmonising and regulating individual, collective and environmental wellbeing that is heartbased and meaningful for children of all ages. With an emphasis of establishing a culture of care and social responsibility, the program enables children to develop the wellbeing literacy to empower them to be agents of change within their own surroundings and recognise the varying factors that contribute to strengthening their own capability of being active participants that can make a difference to their internal and external worlds.