Why Do We Not Teach Psychology in 1st Grade?

Child Waiting

By B. Bradley

I wonder how many of us, if we could go back in time and be offered some ‘psychology’ courses, would opt to take them starting in 1st grade, knowing what we know now about life and what it takes to navigate its sometimes tricky waters.

Maybe a ‘Psychology 101’ squeezed between spelling and adding numbers together? Boy, knowing a few things about my own development, about processing feelings, and understanding human patterns of behavior would have come in handy—dare I say even more than some of the math and spelling I learned!

Should psychology not be a required piece of knowledge to be taught in all schools from the get go? It is hard for me to think of a subject matter more infiltrated into our lives, a knowing that would hold more personal value or be more lasting.  We even consider having a counselor on staff to help children with their troubles (which is a needed service), BUT we do not teach them the science or the understanding of psychology.

In some case there is a school psychologist on staff to work with the school children who act out the ‘most’ or have some personal issues to deal with, which is a valuable service that must be provided. But, that is quite different from teaching the knowledge of psychology to educate each child and each individual, from those early years.

Think of it this way, just because there is a Nurse on staff at that same school we do not stop teaching biology, right? Right.

Providing health services, clinical or otherwise, is a very different thing than teaching that science or that piece of knowledge to those—in case it would be every person—who would benefit from that understanding.

I think about the time, tears, and doubts it would have saved me if by the time I to high school my comfort with numbers and a-turn-of-phrase matched my knowledge of human boundaries, defense mechanisms, and relationship dynamics. Alas, for the last three, like many or even most of us—I was left to fend mostly for myself with many years of trial and error!

B. Bradley is a freelance writer who lives in California.

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