An essential aspect of our culture of safeguarding is supporting our children with developing the knowledge, self-awareness, strategies and resilience to nurture long-term positive mental health. There are several aspects to this and we are continually looking for ways to further enhance this provision.
We want our children to grow into young adults who are in tune with their emotions and carry with them practical techniques that they can use to regulate and express their feelings. If they are able to do this, they will be well placed to thrive on the many challenges and opportunities their future will present. We hope the impact of this will extend far beyond their time in primary school.
We offer the Paws .b mindfulness curriculum to our children in years 4 to 6. It is taught in the classroom by Mrs Blanchard as a series of 12 PSHE lessons during PPA Wednesdays.
The course develops:
Each lesson brings to life a different theme of mindfulness; pupils learn simple practices and techniques that they can use in their everyday lives.
Our children have been learning relaxation techniques thanks to an Education for Wellbeing Programme called the Inspire Project. The project, led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Families and Children, is part of a large scale government-funded research project into supporting well-being in schools and St Stephen’s is one of 370 schools across the country taking part.
The children in years 4 and 5 are enjoying daily relaxation sessions led by their teachers who have each been trained through the project. It is already having an impact, with one of our Year 4 children enthusing “I love it! It’s one of the best things, it’s nice and calming. It gets me ready for the afternoon.” Another bit of feedback we have received is “It makes me feel calm, like all of my emotions can flow out. It helps me when I do my work because I’m relaxed. I can do my best work because I don’t need to worry.”
One of our girls in Year 4 reflected that “I feel like when we started doing it, I stopped worrying. It has helped me with my worrying”.