Thanks to insights pouring in from neuroscience, psychology and sociology, it’s exciting to note the opportunities we see in SelfDesign – as parents, educators and advisors – to positively influence the directions of learning and wellness among children and youth.


This is underscored in two recently published articles, the first reflecting research into the emotional health of children, and the second the degree to which children are inclined to higher levels of self-agency in their lives.


With respect to the latter, research conducted through the ‘Wellbeing’ research programme at the London School of Economics and published last summer (see article here), concluded that a child’s emotional health is much more important to their satisfaction levels as an adult than other factors, such as if they achieve academic success when young, or wealth when older.


The second paper, published last summer by University of Colorado researchers in the journal ‘Frontiers in Psychology’ (found here), reported children who spend more time in less structured activities—from playing outside to reading books to visiting the zoo—are better able to set their own goals and take actions to meet those goals without prodding from adults.


The former research links participation in less-structured activities to growth of ‘executive function’ abilities and notes that executive function skills correlate to important outcomes like academic performance, health, wealth and positive socialization, years and even decades later.


Both of these research articles align with SelfDesign philosophy, oriented as it is to recognizing and boosting emotional health, and stoking self-agency in children and young people. We actually see these as complementary facets of the same gemstone turned to let the light of learning and living shine most brightly for each individual learner!
To this end, SelfDesign educators and parents support a multiplicity of approaches for building a broad foundation on which prosperity and health can flourish, now and in the future.


Written by Michael Maser, SelfDesign Learning Foundation and author of Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want