Holistic development should be prioritised in the lead up to school
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Holistic development should be prioritised in the lead up to school

by Freya Lucas

December 05, 2023

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider Genius Childcare has created a program to support children’s holistic development in the years before school. 


The RISE program is aimed at cultivating resilience and emotional intelligence, skills which allow children to tackle the academic and non academic challenges of life in a measured and supportive way. 


“While academic prowess is undoubtedly crucial, we believe that true genius extends beyond numbers and writing,” said Sel Omerovic, Manager of National Operations for Genius. 


“Our commitment lies in fostering well-rounded development that encompasses both cognitive abilities and emotional resilience.”


Balancing education and mental health


“To be a true genius in our eyes is not just about academic achievements; it’s about equipping children with the emotional regulation skills to navigate challenges and rise above adversity,” Ms Omerovic continued.


RISE stands for resilience, independence, self-esteem, and energise – fundamental pillars which Genius believes lay the foundation for robust mental fortitude and social-emotional growth. 


Through this program, children learn not only the academic skills required for success but also the mindset and willpower to face various transitional phases confidently.


RISE program attributes


The provider was compelled to create the program in light of statistics which show that approximately one in every seven children aged between five and 12 years struggles with mental health issues. 


“At Genius, we recognise the urgency of addressing this challenge head-on,” Ms Omerovic said. 


The components of the RISE program have been built around addressing these challenges, and are as follows: 


– Resilience: Building the ability to bounce back from setbacks and challenges.

– Independence: Fostering a sense of autonomy and self-reliance.

– Self-Esteem: Nurturing a positive self-image and confidence.

– Energise: Encouraging vitality and enthusiasm for learning.


Addressing the mental health imperative


In practice, RISE is making a real difference, with Mont Albert’s Educational Leader and Centre Manager Lacy describing the implementation of RISE and its principles as “a transformational journey” which has extended far beyond the walls of the centre. 


‘’The Genius RISE program isn’t just a curriculum,” she explained. “It’s a philosophy that shapes confident, independent individuals, leaving an enduring imprint on the educational journey of every child. We’ve seen children overcome challenges with resilience and independence, embodying the very essence of the RISE philosophy.”


Parents have also been touched by the program, experiencing a shift in awareness, and coming to recognise the profound importance of cultivating self-esteem and independence skills in their children.


Lacy has had multiple parents approach her on different occasions, expressing gratitude and sharing that they never knew how crucial these skillsets were for their child’s development.


Practical tips for families


As part of their commitment as a provider to extending the learning taking place within their services, Ms Omerovic and her team have compiled the following tips for services to share with parents in a bid to boost their self esteem and independence. 


  1. Encourage decision making: Involve your child in decision-making processes at home, fostering a sense of independence and autonomy.
  2. Celebrate small achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories, instilling a positive self-image and reinforcing the value of effort.
  3. Promote problem solving: Encourage your child to find solutions to challenges independently, fostering resilience and a can-do attitude.
  4. Model positive self-talk: Demonstrate positive self-talk to help your child develop a constructive inner dialogue, enhancing their self-esteem.
  5. Foster responsibility: Assign age-appropriate tasks that contribute to a sense of responsibility, reinforcing the importance of contributing to the household.
  6. Provide choices: Offer choices within appropriate boundaries, allowing your child to make decisions and express their preferences.
  7. Independence: Encourage children to participate in daily tasks to enhance their independence skills such as getting their bag ready before childcare.


“When a child’s mental and emotional well-being takes centre stage, a profound internal connection begins to form,” Ms Omerovic said. 


“Confidence becomes a natural companion, enabling children to engage more deeply with their education and development.”


Learn more about Genius here

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