At Blue Coat, our pastoral care and the wellbeing of our pupils is a top priority. To coincide with Children’s Mental Health, we gave this a special focus by setting up our own Wellbeing Week. The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week has been ‘Express Yourself’.
Expressing yourself is all about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts or ideas through creativity. It is about finding a way to show who you are and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself.
In Pre-Prep, we wanted to support the children to focus on feeling good about themselves and create time for them to do things which make them feel happy. Each day the children completed a wellbeing activity to express themselves in different ways ranging from movement to artwork and nature trails to reading. It has been lovely receiving all the photographs and positive comments about how engaged the children have been and how much they have enjoyed the activities.
The week started with a fantastic talk from children’s psychologist Dr Hazel Harrison. Dr Harrison has produced materials for BBC Bitesize and presents The Brain Lab for BBC, working for both the NHS and private sector. Throughout her talk, she spoke about the Five Pillars of Wellbeing, linking each aspect to concrete resources for parents to use and providing top tips during the current lockdown.
Throughout the week, the children took part in lots of different activities. The aim of the activities was to introduce the children to different techniques they can use to help them feel good about themselves and function effectively in their day to day lives.
On Monday, the children were introduced to Breath and Believe. The children and teachers took part in different breathing techniques, using the Starfish Model to show the children why it is so important to be in control of their breathing.
On Tuesday, the children took part in some Mindfulness Mark Making. Our Art technician, Miss Moore, produced a wonderful drawing tutorial for the children to follow that showed the children how to express their feelings through art.
Wednesday’s activity focused on getting away from those screens and into the fresh air, completing a rainbow walk. The walk enabled the children to not only be outside, but to focus on the environment around them, celebrating the area they live in.
Reading and relaxing was the focus on Thursday. The children were encouraged to find a quiet space and to pick a book they enjoy, away from the business of their usual days.
Friday was all about Dressing to Express. The children were encouraged to come to school in clothes that express themselves and their emotions, wearing brightly coloured clothes that certainly put a smile on everyone’s face! Our wellbeing activity for the day was one of the most important: Free Time Fun! The children were invited to complete an activity that they enjoy, inspires them or even creates a sense of awe.
Although the aim of the week was to introduce the children to techniques and activities to help impact their wellbeing, we are all aware that this takes time and is not a quick fix. We need to train our brains to realise positive emotions and celebrate these successes. The children are always encouraged to share any worries they have with a trusted adult.
We hope that children have enjoyed taking the time to focus on their wellbeing this week and reflect on ways to keep their emotions positive whilst also having the opportunity to express any worries they might have during this difficult time of lockdown. Public Health England have also produced some guidance for parents and carers on supporting children’s mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, and access to this can be found HERE.
Mr Hulbert and Ms Benjamin-Coker