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, schools provide an ideal environment to identify early behaviour changes associated with signs of mental distress and promote good emotional wellbeing. Social skills, emotional well-being awareness and healthy behaviours that young people could learn in the classroom may help them to build resilience and adopt coping strategies that will help them manage their mental health throughout their lives.
Lowerplace Primary School acknowledged the importance of wellbeing awareness, and launched a Wellbeing Awareness Week which commenced on the 8th July 2019.
To coincide with their plans, Garry Johnson, Headteacher, invited Clare Holmes, from Nullam Wellbeing to present on ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’. The event was supported by Paula Ho, Branch Manager and Nicola Sykes, Senior Consultant from Provide Education, who identified the opportunity to support the school by recommending Clare as well as sponsoring the event.
The aim of the day was to highlight to the pupils (and staff) the importance of wellbeing and emotional health in order to give them ideas about how to look after their own and others' emotional/ mental health. Clare delivered an assembly session to the KS2 cohort and staff about how to talk about feelings, listen to others and when/ how to ask for help.
Clare also delivered hour long workshops to each year 5 class on the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ in which they discussed why each aspect of wellbeing is important, being:
The children then made wellbeing pledges in the shape of hands, which will be used to make displays in school.
Clare, a professional in helping organisations develop policies and procedures to support wellbeing in the workplace, shared her views on the importance and impact of such days.
“It is vital that children are taught about emotional health and wellbeing from an early age. This helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health. Additionally if children are given the tools and strategies to be able to spot the signs of poor emotional health and how to self-care, we can avoid many of the issues caused by mental ill-health later in life.
It was really good to work with a school that places such a high level of importance on teaching the children about wellbeing. The children came up with lots of really good ideas to address each of the Five Ways to Wellbeing (including some I might try myself) and I was really impressed by their understanding and support of each other. “