Mental Health and Wellbeing
At St John’s Catholic Primary school, we strive to educate the whole child. We know that if a child is unhappy, scared, confused or feeling lost, they are unable to learn and will struggle.
At school we ensure that children always have a trusted adult they can speak to, a worry monster in each class and Year 6 Buddy squad to act as mentors and friends. All members of staff take ownership of the health and well-being of children within the school and we are very fortunate to have a health and wellbeing mentor who is also a qualified ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support); she is trained to support children with a range of difficult situations. We have a nurture room where children can engage with Lego therapy and other therapies, all tools that will help support a child in need. We have a health and wellbeing policy to ensure all staff, children and parents know how best to support our children and the steps that we can take to provide support. The Headteacher is undergoing training as a Senior Mental Health lead. All of this reflects the importance St John’s places on mental health and well-being within school.
Below you will find some information around mental health and wellbeing, if you require any further information or support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s mental health?
We all have mental health. Your mental health affects how you feel, think and act. It refers to your emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Your mental health can change on a daily basis and over time, and can be affected by a range of factors.
It’s important to look after your mental health, as you would look after your physical health. Your state of wellbeing affects how you cope with stress, relate to others and make choices. It also plays a part in your relationships with your family, community, colleagues and friends.
Good mental health among children and young people
When children and young people have good levels of wellbeing it helps them to:
- learn and explore the world
- feel, express and manage positive and negative emotions
- form and maintain good relationships with others
- cope with, and manage, change, setbacks and uncertainty
- develop and thrive.
When children and young people look after their mental health and develop their coping skills it can help them to boost their resilience, self-esteem and confidence. It can also help them learn to manage their emotions, feel calm, and engage positively with their education – which can, in turn, improve their academic attainment.
It’s not always easy to identify a child whose mental health is deteriorating –but early identification and action is the best thing schools can do to help give young people the a strong start in life. One of the joys of St John’s is that we are a small school. This means we know our children and families very well. We are well placed to support any mental health difficulties early on and will work with you as a family to support your child.
How St John’s supports the mental health of children and young people
School is the ideal environment to promote and support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.
Children and young people spend a significant amount of time in school and with their teachers, which means that school staff are in a good position to identify a child who may be struggling, and our school SENCO will help refer them to get the support needed.
School can also help children develop social and emotional skills, providing them with the coping skills and tools they need to understand and manage their thoughts, feelings, behaviour, goals and relationships. This starts in Reception and continues throughout the school.
We support mental health for children by teaching health and wellbeing education through a curriculum that has been developed for St John’s specifically; we call this our RESPECT curriculum. We base our lessons around the PSHE association recommendations and other well-placed sources as well as following the diocesan guidance. At the heart of what we teach is the Gospel values of love and tolerance for each other, this underpins all our work around health and wellbeing. We weave health and wellbeing topics and skills throughout the broader curriculum and school life. We believe health and wellbeing should not be taught in isolation, but reinforced throughout the curriculum.
Some activities that may be helpful when your children tell you they’re bored!
A Parent’s Guide to Emotional and Social Learning
edutopia shares some interesting information and resources about promoting kindness and empathy: Parent resources
Take a look at Place2Be’s new site which is full of practical advice and tried and tested tips for parents and carers of primary-age children: https://parentingsmart.place2be.org.uk/
In exclusive interviews with Place2Be Ambassador Josh Smith, TV, music and sport stars share their stories: Growth Stories
Sleep Anxiety in Children
Gingerbread – Single Parents, Equal Families
This organisation hosts some valuable tips and advice for single parent families. It’s important you take care not only of your children, but of yourself.
Upcoming events for the 2023/24 year
We are delighted to be able to invite you into school for some parent workshops across this academic year.
These workshops will cover a range of subjects including self esteem, the importance of sleep, resilience, mental health, anxiety and stress and trauma. They are designed to support you as parents with some of the issues that children face. The first workshop will be on Tuesday 17th October at 9am in the school hall.
The theme of this work shop will be mental health. Looking at what we mean by mental health, what difficulties this can bring, signs to look for and how to support young people and children.
Mrs Clough and Mrs Burke will be leading these sessions.