We all have mental health. Mental health is about our feelings, our thinking, our emotions and our moods. Looking after our mental health is important.
Over the course of their education, children spend over 7,800 hours at school.
With such a huge amount of time spent in the classroom, our school provides an ideal environment for promoting good emotional well-being and identifying early behaviour changes and signs of mental distress. The social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviours that young people learn in the classroom can help them to build resilience and set the pattern for how they will manage their mental health throughout their lives.
Emotional well-being is a clear indicator of academic achievement, success and satisfaction in later life. Evidence shows that mental health and well-being programmes in schools can lead to significant improvements in children’s mental health, and social and emotional skills. Well-being provision in schools can also lead to reductions in classroom misbehaviour and bullying.
This is where the school community at North Somercotes CE Primary School are taking a stand – we are wising up to well-being.
We continue to lead a cluster of schools, which work together as part of the Lincolnshire County Council Mobilise Project to promote the importance of emotional health and well-being in our school communities.
At North Somercotes we are aware that the happiness and achievements of children in school depends upon many different people and factors, and lots can be done to protect to support the well-being of all involved, from the point of feeling calm, happy and resilient through to possible times of crisis.
Our ‘Wellbeing Framework’ takes on a form of a graduated approach and has been built to address each aspect of well-being. Protecting and up-skilling all relevant stakeholders and raising awareness within the school community and beyond of matters concerning social and emotional well-being and resilience.
What are we doing as a school to support children with their mental health and emotional well-being?
- We recognise that children need to know that they matter, that we value them, that their voice can be heard, that we can help them, that we will be here for them. We acknowledge them every day through greetings, a gesture, a nod, a smile and a conversation.
- We talk about the power of ‘I know’, ‘I appreciate’, ‘I understand’. To children some things are huge, and we need to recognise this and affirm their feelings for that thing – be it a scratch they have, a funny feeling in their tummy, a sad feeling because of a falling out or a sigh because they cannot do something. We need to set aside our ‘rush’ to teach and ensure progress and attainment and ensure that we have done our best to support our children to be ready to learn – emotionally available. We do this at all levels – leadership to office staff, teachers to midday supervisors.
- We aim to embed one of our key initiatives, 5 Ways to Well-being, as part of Personal, Social and Health Education. The 5 Ways to Well-being have been researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. They are a well-being equivalent to fruit and veg 5 a day – a set of really simple actions anyone can take to improve their well-being…
- All classes have now developed an emotional wall/area, which include visual reminders of each of the 5 ways, in order to support the development of children’s emotional literacy skills.
- We do not avoid talking about having healthy minds – our weekly Well-being Wednesday assemblies link back to being emotionally available. We want it to become part of everyday language and embedded in practice and routine. This academic year we are going to focus on teaching pupils strategies to self-regulate and cope in stressful situations. This will include meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.
- Children will be provided a designated reflection time at the end of each school day, to reflect on one positive thing that happened that day. We strongly encourage our families to have similar discussions at home. Together, we can do so much more to help children develop a positive mindset.
- We are using monthly calendars from https://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars in order to engage with our families.
- The school has 4 designated, and fully accredited, Mental Health First Aiders: Mrs Sandiford, Mrs Abualzulof, Mrs Wray and Mrs Poulter.
- We have secured training for staff with the Restorative Solutions as we look to become a fully restorative school.