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Mental health and wellbeing

At Birstwith Primary School, we pride ourselves on an inclusive ethos which puts children's mental health and wellbeing at the very centre of what we do. Post-pandemic, more children than ever are processing the effect that this event has had and will continue to have on their lives. Because of this, we have tried to weave as much research and practice into our every day school lives as we can to ensure that the children at our school feel supported to do their very best. We believe that bringing out the best in children should include the whole child - the character, personality and skills that build a whole person. Teaching children to look after themselves physcially and mentally is a huge part of our PSHCE curriculum and forms the ethos which surrounds out children every day. 

What does this look like?

At Birstwith Primary School, our children are surrounded by staff who are trained in emotion coaching and who are well-versed in managing calm and creative classrooms. We ensure that positive classroom environments are provided to every child, so that they feel safe and secure in giving things a try in class. We have daily mental health check ins and discuss things that are bothering us. Unconditional positive regard ensures that children feel they can speak openly to any staff member and children are reminded of their safeguarding rights and the right come forward if something in their lives doesn't feel right. 

Mental health and wellbeing club

At our school, Miss Watkin runs Mental Health and Wellbeing club on a Wednesday afternoon. Spaces are open to children in any age group and we have a revolving waiting list to make sure everyone who would like to join, can have an opportunity to join us.  In this club the children take part in activities which encourage them to talk about their feelings, the things they enjoy and what makes them happy. They also have the opportuity to speak to Miss Watkin about anything that might be bothering them. 

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

At our school, we are emplying the 5 Ways to Wellbeing from Mind Charities. This model gives the children five key points which they can talk freely about with their friends and teachers during PSHCE lessons and on the playground. The five ways are easily recognisable due to their colours and are easy to work with - this way our little receptions can do it too! We discuss these frequently during our Mental Health and Wellbeing club meetings - we especially love to think about ways that we can 'give' to others and 'notice' each other's success. 

The wonderful Marianne Doonan has also been training all the staff at Bristwith School and at our sister school Admiral Long primary in emotion coaching. This method of conflict resoultion and emotional communication opens up it's impact by allowing two people to connect and discuss their emotions using three simple steps: regulate, relate, reason. This technique encourages children to become more independent in regulating their big feelings and discussing their problems with someone who can help. Our mental health and wellbeing ambassadors are also looking to be trained in using this technique, so they can help other children on the playground using their feelings fans. 

Our brand new reflection area!

Recently, a very kind parentd dontacted to us a 'recalibrator station', a wooden plate-like device which can be used for emotional regulation. The grooves make a wonderful smooth surface for a child to run their finger and get rid of all their frustration. This activity offers a calming space for children who would like to take time to regulate themnselves during exciting football games or rounds on our activity wall. They may also choose to take a quiet moment out of their breaktime to have a moment of relfection before going back inside for lessons. At Mental Health and Wellbeing Club, our Class 1 and 2 members using their finest artistic skills to paint the wooden plate to make it look really exciting and add a visual sesnory input to the device - we think it looks really lovely! 

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