The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as: ‘a state of mind in which an individual is able to realise his or her own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’
At Hillside Primary School, we aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for our whole school community (children, staff, parents and carers), and recognise how important mental health and emotional wellbeing is in addition to physical health. As a school, we recognise that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement and when developing the individual, we want to create resilient children who are able to cope, adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world around them.
Over the course of their education, schools provide an ideal environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing. At Hillside, we feel that the social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviours that young people learn in the classroom and within their school community can help them to build life skills and resilience (alongside their academic abilities) and that this can support and prepare children for how they will manage their mental health during their lives.
At Hillside we continuously promote emotional health and mental wellbeing through the following:
- Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is central to the curriculum across the school. PSHE assists children to cope with changes within their lives and involving their body, introduces them to a wider world and the language of choice, helps to manage transitions and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities.
- Growth Mindset is a key part of the whole school ethos, where children are encouraged to attempt challenges, use metacognition strategies to build on prior learning and push themselves to achieve their very best and are encouraged through the school motto of ‘Developing the Individual’ to shine both within and outside of the school curriculum.
- The Computing Curriculum covers E-Safety and ambassadors for this support teaching by leading assemblies and promoting how to stay safe online and as well as online image.
- Choir, Singing Stars and amateur dramatics clubs all support children to develop their confidence and shine.
- Daily sports clubs at lunchtime and after school include Rowing, Football, Rounders, Time4Sport (Alternative Sports, Multiskills) encouraging healthy bodies as well as minds.
- Clubs that promote mental well-being and mindfulness are being developed and children are offered targeted support to access these.
- Assemblies celebrate differences and discuss openly mental health, topics relating to this and how to support themselves and others, when to seek help etc. and enable open discussion for all alongside the knowledge that there is a network of support surrounding them.
- Healthy school eating is encouraged.
- Healthy relationship workshops are delivered by the school nurse and outside charities and are built in to the curriculum (particularly in Upper Key Stage Two).
- Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Week focussing on how to stay well and incorporating yoga activities, delivered by the Children’s Yoga Foundation.
- Timbertrails on all playgrounds accessed by children during break and lunchtimes alongside reading areas, places to play with Playground Buddies and peer support.
- Healthy cookery sessions linked to the curriculum are planned within each year group and many children access Breakfast or Cookery Club as a before or after school activity to support cooking skills as well as the nurturing element of eating together.
- Outdoor learning and Forest School sessions are used across the school and enhance the curriculum.
- Educational visits and residential visits support outdoor learning and co-operative learning where children are supported to access their local area and work outside of the confines of the school environment.
Wellbeing across the school
There are many projects being run across the school this year to support proactive mental health understanding and development by staff. Within EYFS, daily meditation and yoga are supporting mindfulness in addition to work being driven in Key Stage One around positive playtimes. A mental health club is being run within Key Stage Two to support kindness and gaining self-esteem through completing acts of kindness for others. and staff well-being is being considered alongside children’s. Hillside has engaged with Health Works to improve not only the health and wellbeing of children but also all members of staff. Three staff members have volunteered to be Health Works Workplace Champions and have completed training on why workplaces should promote staff health and wellbeing, the factors that can affect health and wellbeing and how to promote health and wellbeing within the work place. The school rules are also referenced to support children on a daily basis and are an engrained element of the school culture: Be Kind, Stay Safe, Show Respect.
Mindfullness – Emotional wellbeing class clips for KS1 and KS2
Mental Health – Mentally Healthy Schools
Children’s Mental Health week
NHS help for mental health
Bullying and Cyberbullying – NSPCC
Childline support services for pupils and parents
Bereavement – Child Bereavement UK
Suicide – Shout is the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.