Mental health and wellbeing in the Junior School
Promoting wellbeing and good mental health remains a high priority in the Junior School.
Among many things we do to encourage an understanding of the importance of good mental health, is the strong focus we put on the benefits of nature and outdoor learning. As well as having regular Woodland Explorer sessions, and playtime in the woods, Junior School girls now have regular access to our beautiful garden. Supported by gardeners, Sarah, and Philip, they have had opportunities to grow and nurture plants.
This year we were given seeds by ‘Cultivating Change’ an organisation that distributes seeds that would otherwise be discarded. Their aim is for children, and adults, to experience the joy of planting and growing, along with all the positive mental health benefits that can bring. Each house has been growing either, herbs, salad, vegetables, or flowers. We are looking forward to an abundant harvest come September. In PSHE lessons, Year 5 reflected on ways to support good mental health and have made posters to promote the benefits of spending time in nature.
A new addition to the Junior School this year has been our wellbeing wall. This was an opportunity for the pupils to share strategies for controlling negative emotions. The girls thought about the things they liked to do when they were feeling unhappy or in a heightened state of emotion. They then wrote these ideas on luggage labels which now hang in Acton House for all to see. Among the suggestions put forward by the girls were, ‘When I am upset, I like to hug my pets,’ or ‘When I feel angry, I like to listen to loud music,’ and ‘When I am sad, I like to watch the birds in my garden.’
Mental Health Week
Children’s Mental Health week is an ever-expanding annual event. The theme this year was ‘growing together.’ The girls reflected on how much they have changed in their lives so far and they thought about and discussed their shared experiences. The week involved many extra activities: there were lunchtime yoga classes for Prep girls, led by our marvellous Year 6 sports captains. There were reflection sessions organised by Mrs Richards and the Faith Council. Miss Shale took an ‘art therapy’ class, for Year 3, inspired by Paul Klee and Mrs Lavoie took a ‘sing your heart out’ session which was a wonderful way for everyone to let off steam.
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