Anxiety a growing issue in today’s kids

Aurora Leaders Metuisela Vakalolona from Te Hapara School, Tess Worsnop from Rere School and Hazel Reeves from Wainui Beach School met with visiting teaching scholar Prof Debbie Clelland at Central School this week. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

International academic and anxiety specialist Professor Debbie Clelland joined the first meeting of the Aurora Education Foundation Young Leaders Programme at Central School this week.

Professor Clelland was in Gisborne to see Aurora leadership and chess programmes that have been running here for the last two years.

“Dr Clelland is particularly interested in the bicultural perspective so in the spotlight was Maori giftedness and what we do to enhance the colourful and multiple talents of our Aurora students,” said The Aurora Education Foundation executive director Sunny Bush.

While here, she also visited Manutuke School to see the Maori cultural framework in operation.

Professor Clelland is known through educational circles for her research and works on counselling — more specifically anxiety.

Anxiety issues are a hot topic, not only for gifted students but those presenting on the autism scale and children in general, says Mrs Bush.

The prevalance of children suffering from anxiety may be a result of the global world we live in, says Dr Clelland.

“Children are more aware of tragedies and sad things happening in the world, and the harm being done to the planet. This can become overwhelming.”

Her advice to parents with children suffering from anxiety is to find out what is making them anxious.

“Be curious and explore what is making your child anxious, then learn how to deal with the stress and give them tools to deal with those emotions.”

Once children learn to recognise their anxiety, they can then learn relaxation techniques to help them overcome the stress, whether it be deep breathing, meditation or something physical like going for a walk in nature.

Professor Clelland is a teaching scholar from Adler University in Vancouver, Canada. She is a registered clinical counsellor who holds a PhD in educational psychology.

Her PhD research explored the needs of parents of gifted children, and she has also conducted research on acceleration policies and counselling families of gifted children.

She is visiting New Zealand and Australia to learn more about different perspectives and experiences of being gifted, and to share her expertise with professionals and families.

About 25 people turned out for Professor Clelland’s professional forum Negotiating and Supporting Student Anxiety.

“Aurora was delighted with the excellent turnout of teachers, support staff and parents, which shows this topic has touched a raw nerve in Gisborne education circles,” said Mrs Bush.

“Debbie offered new insights as to the triggers of anxiety and practical calming techniques to soothe anxious children.”

The Aurora Education Foundation is a charitable trust dedicated to advancing the cause of gifted children.

The meeting at Central School was to welcome the 2019 Aurora leaders who have been specially chosen from 18 schools across Gisborne.

International academic and anxiety specialist Professor Debbie Clelland joined the first meeting of the Aurora Education Foundation Young Leaders Programme at Central School this week.

Professor Clelland was in Gisborne to see Aurora leadership and chess programmes that have been running here for the last two years.

“Dr Clelland is particularly interested in the bicultural perspective so in the spotlight was Maori giftedness and what we do to enhance the colourful and multiple talents of our Aurora students,” said The Aurora Education Foundation executive director Sunny Bush.

While here, she also visited Manutuke School to see the Maori cultural framework in operation.

Professor Clelland is known through educational circles for her research and works on counselling — more specifically anxiety.

Anxiety issues are a hot topic, not only for gifted students but those presenting on the autism scale and children in general, says Mrs Bush.

The prevalance of children suffering from anxiety may be a result of the global world we live in, says Dr Clelland.

“Children are more aware of tragedies and sad things happening in the world, and the harm being done to the planet. This can become overwhelming.”

Her advice to parents with children suffering from anxiety is to find out what is making them anxious.

“Be curious and explore what is making your child anxious, then learn how to deal with the stress and give them tools to deal with those emotions.”

Once children learn to recognise their anxiety, they can then learn relaxation techniques to help them overcome the stress, whether it be deep breathing, meditation or something physical like going for a walk in nature.

Professor Clelland is a teaching scholar from Adler University in Vancouver, Canada. She is a registered clinical counsellor who holds a PhD in educational psychology.

Her PhD research explored the needs of parents of gifted children, and she has also conducted research on acceleration policies and counselling families of gifted children.

She is visiting New Zealand and Australia to learn more about different perspectives and experiences of being gifted, and to share her expertise with professionals and families.

About 25 people turned out for Professor Clelland’s professional forum Negotiating and Supporting Student Anxiety.

“Aurora was delighted with the excellent turnout of teachers, support staff and parents, which shows this topic has touched a raw nerve in Gisborne education circles,” said Mrs Bush.

“Debbie offered new insights as to the triggers of anxiety and practical calming techniques to soothe anxious children.”

The Aurora Education Foundation is a charitable trust dedicated to advancing the cause of gifted children.

The meeting at Central School was to welcome the 2019 Aurora leaders who have been specially chosen from 18 schools across Gisborne.

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