“What was your focus area to improve health and wellbeing at your setting? Was there a specific issue related to health and wellbeing that your setting aimed to solve or develop through this?”
The aim of our project was to raise the profile of Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHWB) in school. The project was going to last three terms allowing time for implementation, professional development, monitoring and evaluation. We decided to focus on resilience to help address some of the needs that had been identified in the parents and child questionnaires. Children were assessed using a resilience toolkit and specific resilience lessons were planned each week.
“Is there anything your setting needed to do before pledging to the Health & Wellbeing Framework and starting your project?”
A parent and child questionnaire was carried out and helped identify the area of resilience as the focus for the project. Initial training was delivered and staff were given time to accurately assess their children’s using a resilience toolkit. Specific resilience lessons were planned each week, as well as the theme of resilience being highlighted regularly.
“How many children, young people or families took part in your project?”
All children in the school from Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to year 6 took part in resilience activities to help raise the profile of MHWB. Children were re-assessed at the end of the Autumn term and many teachers reported that the children’s resilience had improved significantly since September.
“What difference has your project made to the children, young people, staff or families that were involved?”
During the lockdown remote learning took place and resilience needed to have a large focus. Therefore the idea of ‘Resilient Rex’ was born. This was a dinosaur who had resilient characteristics. He appeared in online lessons and the children discussed with Rex how he could remain resilient. In order to support children’s mental health week, we created mindfulness packs. These included tasks the children could use to help keep their minds calm during lockdown. Resilient Rex came to school to hand out the packs and the ChronicleLive attended to showcase our event.
It was vital I found ways to ensure that the profile of MHWB remained a priority even though the children were learning remotely. The final assessment in the Summer term showed that the children’s resilience was slightly better compared to where it had been at the end of the Autumn term. Having looked at the resilience scales for the children from the beginning of the project to the end, it is clear that their awareness of resilience has improved with children moving up the scale.
“What are your next steps, suggestions and options to sustain this?”
Our PSHCE curriculum has been adapted this year to incorporate the resilience project with great success. The focus next year will be to continue to develop a growth mind set, encouraging children to understand the power of yet! I can’t do it…… YET! The benefits of these changes will be to develop children’s mental health, for them to see that they can be whoever they want to be and achieve whatever they want to achieve.
You can read about and watch the visit by Resilient Rex in the Chronicle on https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/rex-visits-stanley-schoolchildren-boost-19777688
Paula Renwick – Deputy Headteacher