The Importance of Teaching Children About Wellbeing and SMSC


A child’s education encompasses far more than the academic aspects of school life. From spiritual and moral education to social and cultural education, Ofsted’s framework places an emphasis on child development to encourage overall enrichment and development of students inside and outside of school. This includes teaching children about wellbeing and SMSC, which we look at in more detail below.

What is SMSC?

SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education. It is part of the curriculum that centres on the non-academic development of pupils, such as the understanding the appreciation of different cultures and managing various moral-based situations. SMSC has been included in the education system since 1944 and has existed in various forms before being given an official name.

SMSC is something that is high on the list of priorities for all schools and education establishments. This is the same for independent pre-preparatory schools, as well as state schools in the United Kingdom, Each aspect of SMSC is defined as follows:

Spiritual Education

This gives children the opportunity to explore and understand beliefs and faiths and associated values. It also provides the opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them, while using their imagination and creativity to reflect on what they have learned.

Through spiritual education, children can explore their creativity and build a healthy imagination. At the same time, children can learn to be more reflective and aware in their own learning. This helps to increase their engagement with education and how they respond to feedback which can further aid their academic progression.

Moral Education

Children are taught the differences between right and wrong and how this works within a legal context and the possible consequences of breaking the law. Moral and ethical issues are investigated further, along the formation of presenting reasoned opinion and an appreciation of British values.

By understanding the consequences of individual actions and behaviour, students are able to improve their own accountability and behaviour. It also promotes the ideal of collectivism within the classroom, helping to develop both individual and team work ethics.

Social Education

Through social education, students can interrogate moral issues and learn how to appreciate diverse viewpoints. This aspect of SMSC helps to develop skills such as conflict resolution and how to volunteer and cooperate with each other, while engaging with the ideal of democracy.

This aspect of SMSC is closely tied into Ofsted’s criteria, teaching students the importance of engaging with and accepting others, which aligns with the ideals of ‘British Values’. It is also important on an individual level, as the development of social skills helps children to become more comfortable in all aspects of life, from education through to work and their personal lives as adults.

Cultural Education

This provides children with the capability to explore and appreciate cultural differences, while learning how to understand, accept and respect diversity. It also enables them to appreciate the role of Britain’s parliamentary system.

Children will learn to appreciate the wide variety of cultures that make up our society, including their own heritage that of students and staff, while Ofsted emphasises the importance of teaching Britain’s cultural past. The cultural aspect of SMSC also covers the appreciation of music, art, sport and other cultural pursuits, while gaining an understanding of British democracy.

Why is SMSC important?

The impact of teaching during the formative years of development plays a key role in shaping the future lives of students.

SMSC development serves as an overarching umbrella that supports development across the entire curriculum. It is not a separate subject or a specific teaching lesson provided to students, rather, it is encompassed within the everyday framework of school life. In essence it is linked to everything the school does and offers to support a child’s education, meaning it is saturated into its attitude and ethos.

For SMSC To work within a school environment it must also be supported and articulated by school governors and leaders and should also be made visible in all day-to-day relationships and decisions.

The importance of wellbeing in school

The wellbeing of children plays a fundamental role in their development, influencing the way they can cope with key life events such as stress, trauma and physical ill-health.

When children have the capability to take care of their mental health and develop coping skills it can lead to a boost in self-esteem, confidence and resilience. At the same time it enables them to feel calm, settle themselves and engage positively with their education and the world around them.

Children who have better mental wellbeing have an increased chance of dealing with stressful events and recovering from illness. It also means they are less likely to engage in behaviours that could put their health at risk.

Higher levels of engagement and academic achievement can be achieved by children who have better behavioural, emotional, social and school wellbeing. On average, this is true for children in the early stages of their education and in their later years.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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