At The Lea, 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 to our lives in just the same way as physical health. We recognise that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement.
“We know that our mental health and wellbeing are vital to our ability to thrive and achieve. One in ten young people has some form of diagnosable mental health condition and we know that children with a mental health problem face unequal chances in their lives, particularly where childhood mental health issues continue into adulthood.”
(Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: a Green Paper – DfE 2017).
Young Minds in 1999 defined positive mental health as:
“The capacity to live a full, productive life as well as the flexibility to deal with its ups and downs. In children and young people it is especially about the capacity to learn, enjoy friendships, to meet challenges” and “develop talents and capabilities”.
A key element of The Lea’s ethos therefore is to nurture children to become resilient learners who develop a love for learning which is fostered in a happy, creative and fun environment. We also adopt the Growth Mindset approach to learning and development engendering a positive attitude to challenge themselves and learn from their mistakes. Part of our role in school is to ensure that children develop an understanding of mental health and wellbeing and learn the skills to enable them to cope with change, learn from their experiences, solve problems and acquire resilience to support them as they grow or access help if they need it in later life. Teaching them these skills not only supports their emotional development but can help them to reach their academic potential.
We also have a role in ensuring that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health, how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and where they can go if they need help and support. We do this through a therapeutic approach to positive behaviour management following the Hertfordshire Steps programme. This often enables us to identify potential underlying concerns that may affect children’s emotional wellbeing.
We aim to help develop the protective factors which build resilience to mental health problems and to be a school where:
- All children are valued.
- Children have a sense of belonging and feel safe.
- Children feel able to talk openly with trusted adults about their problems without feeling any stigma.
- We have a whole school approach to promoting good mental health.
- We have clear policies on behaviour and bullying is not tolerated.
Ensuring that all staff are aware of the mental health challenges that may be faced by children and the importance of wellbeing in supporting these, are an important element of this ethos. In addition to children’s wellbeing, we recognise the importance of promoting staff mental health and wellbeing and have an ongoing programme of training and support for all staff.
Our curriculum has been adapted to make time each week for Wellbeing activities on a range of topics. These range from:
- Self confidence and self-esteem
- Problem solving
- Learning from incidents that may have occurred during the week by exploring them, considering responses, agreeing potential solutions. By revisiting them the children are also able to reference prior learning and apply strategies to new situations.
- Exploring and answering questions from the class ‘Worry Box’ if appropriate
- Topics from the PSHE mental health and wellbeing curriculum
We have also adopted the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing” which are:
- Connect – connecting with others
- Give – giving – looking outward as well as inward
- Be active – doing something active
- Take Notice – taking notice of the world around you
- Keep Learning – learning new things
and incorporated in our Badges of Honour so that children have a clear understanding of what they can do.
More information for parents on this can be found here.
Our Mental Health Lead is our InCo, Sally Davey. Our Deputy Mental Health Lead is Michelle Dada.
We are currently progressing with our Healthy Young Minds in Hertfordshire Accreditation.
More information on mental health and wellbeing can be found at: www.healthyyoungmindsinherts.org.uk including any new developments and initiatives happening across Hertfordshire.
Helping Your child with Anxiety
Click here for a really useful guide to anxiety for parents – it covers lots of what we do in school and general wellbeing activities.