Julia Griffin - author

The Stranger Within
A ladybird on a blade of grass

Education and Mental Health

20th January 2023

To The BBC Radio 4 Today Team

Hello Today Team

Listening to the discussion about education and mental health and also about homework for primary school children, I think this is all drawing attention to the fact that many young people leave primary school and then secondary school and university without having a stable foundation of understanding and knowing themselves well. This is because education focuses on academic tests and measurements over self-worth and value through knowledge of themselves as individuals. If young children had the time and space to get to know themselves and their school mates through play and through getting out into nature, which is such a great educational tool, then this self-knowledge and understanding of everyone being an individual could give them the springboard to the future in knowing what they want to do with their lives. True self-knowledge can give strength and courage and thus confidence to deal with life's challenges and to stand up for themselves, rather than be bullied by society and especially social media to do and be what is dictated by a few.

We have produced a 'Treatise on Education' at The Erasmus Foundation which talks about education of a person, not just through their childhood and young adulthood, but for life as a whole because we believe we are here to learn, and that we never stop learning. If we think about life as an educational journey, then maybe the importance of a more thoughtful and gradual primary educational start, particularly using nature to help children rather than academic subjects, would see better outcomes for our children later in life and give them at the very least a more solid foundation to build on through their understanding of what they are interested in and what they feel they would like to do with their lives.

We are happy to talk about this and answer questions if anyone is interested to hear where we are coming from. We are also happy to send you a pdf copy of our Treatise.

Thank you.