To help ensure that the mental health and well-being of learners are prioritized as the country transitions back to in-person classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) has instructed schools to conduct psychosocial support activities when classes start next week.
“Hindi lang yung preparedness ng ating infrastructure pero yung mental wellness ng ating mga learners at pati mga guro (Not only the preparedness of our infrastructure but also the mental wellness of our learners and teachers) — that’s what we’re expecting in the first week,” said DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.
As the schools nationwide gear up for full face-to-face classes this School Year (SY) 2022-2023, Poa said that teachers were instructed to prioritize the “mental wellness” of the learners.
“That’s something that we’re focusing on, the mental wellness of learners,” Poa said. “We’re looking at the well-being of our children,” he added.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in-classroom learning was not allowed and students had to continue their studies at home through multiple learning delivery modalities such as printed/offline modular, online, radio, and television-based instruction and blended learning or a combination of these learning modes.
During the first weeks of classes for SY 2022-2023, Poa said that schools were directed to conduct psychosocial support activities to help children get used to attending face-to-face classes and address their concerns if any.
Psychosocial support activities are designed to encourage children to establish healthy routines and help them connect with their peers.
While there are various ways to provide psychosocial support, conducting recreational and educational activities such as arts and crafts, storytelling, playing games, as well as singing, musical instruments, and dance classes might be incorporated during classes, especially for younger students.
“Ito ang mga activities gusto natin ma-incorporate nila during the first few weeks para yung bata na matagal na hindi pumapasok eh hindi lang maging handa mag-aral at handang bumalik sa school at comfortable sila na babalik sa school (We want incorporate these activities during the first few weeks so that the child who hasn’t gone to school for a long time will not only be ready to study and ready to go back to school — they will be comfortable going back to school),” Poa said.
Related to this, Poa said that teachers who will handle classes underwent training last week so they can conduct psychosocial support activities when classes start on Aug. 22.
“Mental wellness should be incorporated here kasi they need to evaluate if the kids are okay na bumalik sa school (Mental wellness should be incorporated here because they need to evaluate if the kids are okay to return to school),” Poa said.
Based on the data released by DepEd as of Aug. 17, there are 21.8 million students enrolled for SY 2022-2023.
Of this number, 19, 233, 796 learners are enrolled in public schools; 2,531, 715 are in private schools; and 72, 342 are in State Universities and Colleges/ Local Universities and Colleges (SUCs/LUCs) that offer basic education.